Shameful if even K’tan can beat us
Published on: Sunday, February 28, 2021
By: Datuk John Lo
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A friend has just brought the above news item to my attention which should be saddening to those who are concerned with Sabah’s economy. I have no “heart” to delve into the details of this article. Just the headline “SABAH RANKS AS MALAYSIA’S POOREST STATE, AGAIN” is heart breaking. 

I cannot believe that the PAS politicians in Kelantan can do better for Kelantanese than our Sabahan politicians have done for Sabahans. The fact of the matter is that the statistics say so. What is the problem with our Sabahan political leaders? Something is seriously and fundamentally wrong.

The Federal Government recently revised the definition of poverty line at repeated urging of UN. Sabah’s number of below poverty line must have increased substantially.

Has EPICARICACRY Become A Disease In Sabah?

Being demoted below Kelantan is heart wrenching. Have our Sabahan political leaders grown immune to the obvious poverty among our Sabahan brothers and sisters? 

Have they become indifferent to Sabahans being mired in poverty? 

Have they acquired a rare disease called EPICARICACRY [a word given to me by another friend] meaning deriving pleasure from the misfortune of others? Otherwise, how would anyone explain that poverty over the last 35 years have become worse with no end in sight yet. Why can’t poverty in Sabah be eradicated when there is so much resources? 

China has lifted 800 million Chinese out of poverty in the last 40 years and is now near to ZERO POVERTY. Sabah’s poverty, instead of reducing, is growing. Why? Why? Why?

How Bad Is Sabah’s Economy?

Sabah has oil, oil palm, forest, fertile land, rich fishing grounds, etc. Sabah’s tourist receipt was RM9.01B in 2019. So much resources, so few mouths to feed. Our GDP is 6th largest. But where is the money? Where have all the money gone? Why is our household income the lowest? Why so much unemployment?

What does Kelantan political leaders have that Sabah political leaders are lacking?

Sabah’s economy is really very bad. All the pointers are telling that Sabahans are a people in destitute, swimming in the sea of plenty. We have lots of resources that in reality don’t belong to us. The impressive GDP has all but leaked away on a massive scale.  This leakage must be horrendous due to bad management.

Ordinary Sabahans Are Dog-Tired of poverty.

Sabahans must be tired, worn out by all sort of antics, excuses for inaction and for political self-interest over the last several decades.  The gravest danger is that ordinary Sabahans may begin to accept poverty as a destiny, a fate. They may have lost confidence in the political leadership and government system. 

Turning around Sabah’s economy will be a tall order when and if Sabahans have lost hope in politicians and the system of government.

Raise Above Confrontational/ Opposition Politics Please.

Sabah is going through a very bad time. Really bad, made worse by Covid19. Many politicians in their comfort zone are oblivious to this. Incessant Confrontation/ Opposition politics is destructive. While politicians want to play the kampong heroes, they are doing it at the expense of Sabahans’ economic interest.

Sabah can ill afford the luxury of such political ballyhoo and ruckus. All politicians, be there in government and opposition, should focus on economic issues and solutions therefor so that Sabahans can begin to see the light of day from our black hole.

In this respect, I have been fortunate to meet and chat with YB Chan Foong Hin recently on this matter. Though youthful, I am impressed by his political maturity and understanding on the co-relationship between political unity and economic progress. 

I have noticed opposition leaders of various parties have toned down politicking recently. This is a good sign. But please go 1 step further. Again, I say this. 

The opposition leaders should meet on Sabah’s fundamental economic problems as soon as possible. Then talk to the CM DSP Hajiji. Hope they will start a new era. We want our political leaders to be united in one endeavour, to focus on economic progress so that poverty can be eliminated totally in Sabah.


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