Assist Hajiji for better economic destiny
Published on: Sunday, November 22, 2020
By: John Lo
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GREEN with a high dose of envy for Sarawak’s latest 2 achievements. First was that our sister state will study on the establishment of sovereign wealth on 15 November. Second, much more significant, is that Sarawak has embarked on and will be capable of exporting 1,000-ton hydrogen by 2023. This plant has sufficient capacity for 10,000 tons. These 2 economic developments highlight Sarawak’s high level of astute economic leadership, vision and desire to cultivate economic pride for their state. These virtues are grossly lacing in most Sabahan leaders. 

Significance of Sarawak’s sovereign fund establishment.


This is best proof of Sarawak leaders’ superior economic/financial management. [a] They have managed their money very well. [b]They have wisdom to hoard up cash [probably having learned from Tan Sri Harris!]. [c] They have not squandered their reserves [like Sabah leaders did after Tan Sri Harris had left office]. [d] They have built up their reserves consistently, now at more than RM30b. [e] They expect to swell their reserves in the near future. Hence the intention for the establishment of the Sarawak Sovereign Fund which will be the first for any state in Malaysia. This sovereign fund will enable Sarawak to further invest in cutting edge technologies/ industries, produce dividends, cushion economic dips and disasters like Covid-19.

As a Sabahan, we thirst for our leaders to emulate the leaders in Sarawak.

Significance of Sarawak’s hydrogen production project.

Not being proficient in the technical side of hydrogen production, let me say that in the context of Sarawak, gas will be the main input. Guess where much of that gas will come from? You remember the pipeline from Kimanis to Bintulu? 

Sarawak leaders have excellently positioned their state in the energy industry, their state to become Malaysia’s leader in oil/gas and now, clean energy hydrogen.
This is very significant as the world will shut down use of fossil fuel by vehicles in next 10 to 15 years.

This hydrogen plant will pull Sarawak miles ahead of Sabah in [a] latest, most advance clean energy technology. Sabah is still talking kindergarten stuff! [b] in seeking partnership with foreign companies in advance oil/gas downstream. Sabah still cannot escape from the dead-lock clutches of Petronas. [c] being able to enter the world’s clean energy market at an early stage. Sabah does not even have enough gas from Petronas for own consumption and fuel for our industrialization. Sabah is floating in a sea of gas, Sabahans have to buy expensive cooking gas in cylinders.

I cry not for Argentina. I cry for our Sabah.

Sabah was ahead, now far behind.

Tan Sri Harris led Sabah to economic heights, the like of which, we have not seen before or after. During his time as CM, Sabah was miles ahead of Sarawak in oil/gas [ Sabah Gas, Sabah Energy, Asean Supply Gas], manufacturing [SFI], and tourism [Shangri-La Tanjong Aru Resort], rural development [extensive rural roads and extension services for farmers and fishermen]. The RM4b plus reserve he had saved for Sabah soon disappeared after he left office. Likewise, most that he had built up were sold. Then Sabah fell into the black hole of economic stagnation. Had successive government continued his policies and drive for economic development, Sabah cannot have fallen so much behind Sarawak. We may even be better. Tan Sri Musa was producing results in rebuilding Sabah’s economy and more importantly, in oil/gas. In 2018, he upped Sabah’s growth rate to 8pc which was the highest for years. He also left more than RM4b reserves [certified by Auditor General]. 

Sabahan unity spirit for Datuk Hajiji for real economic progress.

The federal leaders cannot plead ignorance of the gross discriminatory treatment in oil/gas for Sabah. They have conveniently continued because Sabahans have allowed to do so. We have suffered stoically. How long can we stand for this discrimination? 5 years? 10 years? Or another generation? By then, Sabah’s oil/gas deposited would be depleted!

Sabahans have 2 clear options. Continue with the old mind-set, fight among ourselves but remain “mute and mum” at federal level, we will rot at the bottom. Unite, we can reverse our economic misfortune and regain prosperity.

I am certain that 99.9pc of Sabahans are hungry, frustrated, waiting for real economic progress.
Encouraging to see Datuk Hajiji, in first press conference as CM, has vowed to prioritise economic recovery. His maiden budget for 2021 to take care of Sabahans, to resettle their lives from ravages of Covid-19, to push economic development in post Covid-19, notwithstanding the many financial severe constraints confronting him will be interesting..

Sabah need to crawl back from economic stagnation and backwardness. Sabah leaders should/must emulate Sarawak leaders, they fight in politics, BUT for their economy, they practice perfect unity in their fights for their oil/gas rights against Petronas and federal leaders. Their hearts are beating in unison for the economic welfare of Sarawakians.

Many Sabah leaders are blurry, for their own logics, in differentiating self-interests and Sabahans’ interest. They have been fighting incessantly among themselves and have brought economic disasters. To reform this unproductive this mindset and to resuscitate Sabah’s economy are 2 herculean tasks.

Sabah has fallen very much behind but it is not too late. Lamenting and whining are no solutions. We can arrest the downward trend IF SABAHANS CAN INJECT OUR SABAHAN SPIRIT OF RACIAL UNITY AND HARMONY INTO OUR ECONOMIC STRUGGLES, WE CAN GIVE INVALUABLE ASSISTANCE TO DATUK HAJIJI TO RECOUP AND RE-ENERGISE, TO REBUILD OUR ECONOMY, TO REGAIN CONTROL OF OUR RESOURCES AND MOST ESPECIALLY, TO RESHAPE OUR ECONOMIC DESTINY.

 





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