Must Sabah show gratefulness?
Published on: Sunday, November 03, 2019
By: Datuk John Lo
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AS a Sabahan with no interest in politics and affiliation, I want to ask who is this DAP fellow Ngeh Koo Ham from Perak thinking Sabahans are stupid, insulting our intelligence, saying we should be grateful for the scraps and crumbs from 2020 Budget allocation that Lim Guan Eng has given Sabah. He can say anything to better Perak’s financial position but he is being insulting, adding insults to injury to say Sabah is being ungrateful for the 2020 budget allocation.

Is there a difference between the 50+ years of previous government and the PH government? “Same difference” [no difference]. 

Since Sabah formed Malaysia with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore, we have been told repeatedly the same thing as this Ngeh fellow has said to Sabahans “show your gratefulness”. 

But why should Sabahans be grateful when so much has been sucked from Sabah and so little has been given back in return. Must Sabahans continue to bow our heads in gratefulness for the budget crumbs?

Let me say this to Ngeh, Sabah is a signatory to the Malaysia Agreement in 1963, Perak is just a state in Malaya. Sabah is 1/3 of Malaysia, Perak is just a state in Malaya. Sabah is larger than whole of Malaya and Perak just like a district in Sabah, smaller than Kinabatangan.

Let me tell Ngeh – he can talk down to us, tell us we must be grateful 20 years or may be even 10 years ago. Sabahans these days, with our new, better educated Y Generation and conscious of having been exploited for the last 50years, will not accept his appalling “looking down on us” attitude. 

Let me ask Ngeh, does he know how much oil and gas have been taken from Sabah? How much of Petronas’ profit of hundreds of billions each year is from Sabah for the last 30 years? 

Does Ngeh know that Sabah is the largest oil and gas producer for Malaysia and Sabah has only a minute stake in the oil and gas industry? Malacca and Johor which don’t produce any oil and gas have the giant stake of petro-chemical industry. 

How much corporate tax revenue has been derived from Malayan oil palm companies in Sabah? Does Ngeh know that more than 90pc of Sabah’s planted oil palm belong to companies from Malaya? Why so little oil palm downstream in Sabah when we are the largest oil palm state in Malaysia? Even Perak has more than Sabah?

Does Ngeh know how little the Federal government has spent to promote industrial development in Sabah in comparison to the huge amount in Malaya? Does Ngeh know the Federal Government has spent peanuts on our infrastructure, that Sabah has the most expensive electricity, that Sabah has the worst road system? That Sabah has suffered so much for the last 50 years because the Federal Government has neglected Sabah and spent most of the funds to develop Malaya? Grateful for Pan Borneo Highway? Please tell us the completion date - 2030 or 2050?

Does Ngeh know that Perak may have a little less than Sabah from 2020 Budget, his state is much smaller than Sabah. Perak has enjoyed and is enjoying from economic benefits from the North-South highway and other highways, the power plants, water supply and unlimited budgets spent in Malaya.

Does Ngeh know that the biggest chunk of the budget has been and is being spent in Malaya. Almost all the recurrent expenditure in the budget is being spent in Malaya. Why? Because most of the economic development facilities are in Malaya and they need recurrent expenditure in the budget to service them. 

This recurrent expenditure, 70pc of total 2020 budget, gives enormous multiplier effects, cash flow, business and employment opportunities which Sabah doesn’t get to enjoy. Don’t talk to Sabahans about development budget only.

Having taken so much out of Sabah, getting anything back is like pulling teeth from the Federal Government. PH and previous governments are the same. For the little that is given to us, we must show our gratefulness. Worse is that there is totally no provision in the 2020 budget for payment of 40pc revenue and any hind of 20pc of oil royalty. The least the Minister of Finance can do is to acknowledge the liabilities in these two financial liabilities to Sabah, give a payment schedule. 

No, there is nothing at all. Soon these GE14 promises will be dead and forgotten. But we must continue to show gratefulness! Why Sabah rights fighters keeping quiet on this?

Sabah must show gratefulness? Perak should show gratefulness to Sabah for it is the revenue from our resources that have fuelled the economic development in Perak and Malaya. 

My biggest disappointment is that no Sabahan leader in government or opposition, has rebutted and challenged Ngeh’s arrogance, demanding that Sabahans must be grateful. It is this lackadaisical political attitude in defence of our economic/financial rights that has deprived us the equitable economic development funding for the last 50 years. 

I hope Sabah DAP leaders will advise Ngeh to cultivate good culture, ask him to mind his own business or Perak’s business. Silence is not an option. Keeping quiet by Sabahan leaders will invite more similar comments from other Malayan leaders.

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