Sabah will remain poor despite these ‘treasures’
Published on: Tuesday, June 16, 2020
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It was recently reported that Sabah is the richest state in Malaysia. The many “treasures within” was how it was described in the Sunday Daily Express (24th May 2020). 

If one accumulated all these treasures it would amount to trillions of Ringgit. With a population of say about two million, every Sabahan should have a comfortable house worth RM500,000. 

This was also reported in the Daily Express a few days ago that a company was going to allocate houses worth RM500,000 for every Sabahan starting in Keningau. Coming with this is a monthly income of RM6,000.00. This will automatically elevate every Sabahan to the middle class.

Unfortunately, despite these “goody-goody” statements and commitments, more than sixty percent of Sabahans remain below the poverty line, live in shabby houses and earn an income of RM500 - RM700 per month. These 60pc Sabahans or about one million people are not looking for standards at Toh Payoh of Singapore, just Kampung Luyang in Sabah.

Pic Credit: The Star.

We the people of Semporna where some of these “hidden treasures” exist are grateful to the Daily Express for their detailed information about the trillion ringgits laying around in our midst. Regrettably, despite all this wealth, the people in Semporna will continue to get poorer as has been the case since the 1880’s. 

We hope someone will organise an economic programme so that we are able to at least live like those in Kampung Luyang.

It is noted that the Daily Express is promoting domestic tourism. This is a fantastic idea but it remains that the overwhelming majority of Sabahans have no extra money to spend visiting other districts. 

On top of this, Sabahans have no appetite to travel from their kampung in Serusup or Tuaran to Semporna. Sabah in terms of civilisation is still far from those of developed countries, just take for example the UK. 

Pic Credit: NST

Londoners be they taxi drivers or lift operators can afford a two-week holiday in Penang every 12 months. The lives of these Londoners are guarded by proper housing, guaranteed monthly income and many other perks. These are domestic tourists. 

For us Sabahans to achieve such a standard with our economic structure and management will take a few hundred years. The production of seafood and other agricultural produce in Semporna is simply “cukup makan” with no extras for improvement of the local community. 

The rural people are being suppressed by the other 40pc of Sabahans for cheap fish and agricultural produce to the extent that these people have no incentive to work harder.

CNN recently aired a report by investigative reporter Richard Quest, highlighting the dilemma faced by farmers who were suppressed, just like the Kenyan cocoa farmers who merely get 12pc of the value of cocoa products.

These are facts and the reality.

PHD, Semporna


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