Lessons Sabah can learn from Hong Kong
Published on: Monday, June 15, 2020
By: Datuk John Lo
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There are few useful lessons for Sabahans from the on-going HK’s political/economic developments over the introduction of security law by Beijing. From these lessons, hopefully we can avoid some pitfalls and gain some benefits. 

Due to the weak Chinese government, inferior military technology and collusion by western countries let by Britain, China lost the opium war [1839-1860] and was forced to concede territories to these western countries on very humiliating terms. Chinese living in these concession territories were subject to the whims and fancies of these foreign powers. Glaring example of extreme humiliation was the sign in Huangpu Park within the British territory which said “No Dogs and Chinese allowed”. China was made to cede Hong Kong to the British by force. Worst that the west had done was their demand of free market access to supply/sell opium to the Chinese population. Big number of Chinese became addicted. The fabulous wealth of many western families was wrought at the cost of Chinese lives, blood and sufferings names like Jardine, Swire [Cathay Pacific], Rockefeller and JP Morgan. The Chinese called this period the “Century of Humiliation”. This national humiliation inflicted by the west is deeply embedded in the Chinese national political psyche. The present generation will never allow China to be subjugated again, a point that the west may not appreciate and tends to under estimate the Chinese resolute, especially Trump.

The west [mainly USA, Australia, Canada], led by USA, is again conniving against China, [very much like the opium war], just like the opium war. This time, they are up against a much stronger and better prepared China, economically and militarily.

2 lessons here. 

Lesson 1—-Sabah must strive to be strong economically/financially so that we don’t get bullied, to avoid economic stagnation and eventual humiliation.

Lesson 2—-Sabah must be resolute to repel the Manila’s claim on Sabah. The Manila government cannot look after Philippines and has committed gross economic negligence against Mindanao which is riddled with poverty. What will happen to Sabah if we become part of the Philippines? 

The judgement by YA Datuk Martin Idang is a must read for all Sabahans, more so politicians.


Some, not all, Hong Kong people have a negative attitude and definitely suffering from a lack of pride/inferior complex in being Chinese in HK. For 99 years, no one would dare to speak up against Britain or the colonial government. At best, they were given “plastic” representation. The HK elites suck up to the colonials like they were the god almighty. Until today, the rioters prefer Britain and USA than China even thought it has risen to a super power, hoisting the British, American flags, burning Chinese flag. These people prefer to stay subservient to Britain and USA but consider themselves to be superior to mainland Chinese. No true Malaysian will wave other flags and burn our Malaysian flag. It is treason, pure and simple.

How can HK rioters fail to see Trump’s patently double standard—-HK rioters are heroes and American demonstrators are thugs.

1 lesson here—-If any Malaysians, irrespective of race, dare to wave a foreign flag and burn our Malaysian flag, they must be sentenced to jail immediately. We should never tolerate HK rioters’ type of traitorous conduct. We can argue, fight but always stay as Malaysians and proud to be so.

HK used to enjoy economic pre-eminence over all other Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai with 39pc of China’s GDP at the hand over in 1997. HK was the main and only major gateway to China trade, transhipment, manufacturing and finance. It is now a mere 3%. The Chinese economy has expanded exponentially in the last 40 years. Just the booming economy of Pearl Delta Mega City alone is many times bigger than HK with more than 130 million people. [a] Most HK entrepreneurs and manufacturers have shifted across the border to benefit from cheaper cost, more hard-working people, easier access to a huge domestic market and, availability of advance technology [b] Superiority complex is Hong Kong people’s down fall. They have refused to adopt/integrate to the rapidly growing Chinese economy. [c] HK’s main economic assets like ports, factories and financial services have become obsolete in the last 30 years. 

To surmise, HK has failed to act on the economic reality of a growing China and has therefore lost out. Its competitiveness has completely evaporated in the last 20 years.

However, all is not lost. HK can still thrive and boom if it is prepared to integrate/restructure to fit into the Chinese economic system, for example HK can play its full role within the Pearl Delta region and beyond. Stop trying to apt British or American. They don’t want to accept them as citizens. Their only aim is to use HK to destabilise China. 

2 lessons here. 

Lesson 1—- Excessive pride is never good for economics. Too much pride without realising one’s weakness is fatal. HK has fallen into a deep ditch. Its economy has not grown. Why Sabah has failed to attract investment and credible entrepreneurs? Answer lies in our deep introspection on our own poor economic performance. 

Lesson 2—-To move forward, good for Sabah to conduct a thorough review and undertake an in-depth restructure of our economic model for diversification of government revenue, investment and job opportunities for Sabahans.

The HK government, though given a lot of authority in the 1 country 2 systems arrangement has failed in —-[a] Providing economic leadership for HK. Too busy sucking up to Beijing to stay in power. [b] Solving economic problems of the poor which the government has inherited from the colonial government. The HK government has totally failed to alleviate the poor’s living standards and inordinately expensive housing. It has perpetuated a few property tycoons to control housing supply. Result- most expensive housing in the world and many people living in squalid rooms. [c] The gap between rich and poor has widened, in contrast to China which has uplifted 800 million poor. [d] China’s rapid development of financial services, ports, high speed rail and other infrastructure has made HK irrelevant.

3 lessons here. 

Lesson 1 —- Most importantly, many politicians in Sabah dare not speak up to W Malaysian leaders, be it within political parties or government on legitimate issues. Overly anxious to protect their own political/financial interest at the long term expense of Sabahans. They are just like leaders in HK.

Lesson 2 —-Government leaders with poor economic leadership in Sabah will lead to economic decline as can be seen in HK. Important therefore for Sabah political leaders to be on the ball at all times to focus on economy, less on politics. Right now, its 90% politics, 10% economy.

Lesson 3—-Restructure Sabah economy to benefit all Sabahans, to build a Sabahan economy.

President Trump’s threat to withdraw HK’s special trade status will not impact HK’s economy very much. USA has become a small market for HK whereas USA is enjoying about USD200 billion trade surplus from HK.

1 lesson here. Learn from Trump. His hasty decision to cancel USA special trade relationship will result net loss for USA. Because of our weak economic system, Sabah cannot afford reactive economic policies and decisions.

So called pro-democracy protestors, urged on [probably funded by] by USA and Britain to oppose Beijing’s introduction of national security law to cover HK. Come what may, Beijing will not back down for the simple reason that the west has used HK to destabilize China. In any case, no country will allow exemption of any part of its territory from national security coverage. USA will not allow Texas and Britain, Scotland.  Discussion on HK’s new national security by Beijing cannot be complete without going into HK’s and the on-going USA’s rioting and lootings in more than 40 cities. Behaviour of the rioters in HK and USA are very similar. American double standard is blatant, HK rioters are heroes and American rioters are thugs. 

3 lessons here. 

Lesson 1—-Most importantly we should always remember we are an independent people, no longer under the yoke of colonialism, no kowtow to anyone. By now, we know the west’s way of saying one thing and doing another, so long it is to maintain their hegemony and economic benefits. 

Lesson 2—-Sabahans in particular and Malaysians in general must by now recognise the behaviour of the USA, Australia, Canada which has the same pattern as in the pre opium war years. Human rights, democratic ideals, rule of law, innocent until proven guilty, globalization, free competition etc, etc are nothing but a charade, masks to hid their hypocrisy and extreme selfish ends. They have not 1 oz of altruism. USA and UK are the only 2 countries that have refused outright to share free copy rights in Covid-19 vaccine for the world. I hope our political leaders will know which side of the bread our butter should be and be politically agile enough to steer clear of the dubious and duplicitous characteristics of the west.

Lesson 3—-National security must have overriding priority for Sabah in the context of Malaysia. Sabah should press the federal government to sort out Sabah’s porous border, false IC and illegal immigrants.

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