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Why Sarawak progressing better than Sabah
Published on: Sunday, October 10, 2021
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Credit: en.wikipedia.org
DATUK John Lo in his opinion piece on Sunday September 26, 2021 in the Daily Express, rightly claimed Hajiji as Chief Minister is an excellent statesman and economic leader. No one will dispute this. John outlined a number of Hajiji policies and programmes for Sabah. If just say 80pc of Hajiji’s plans and programmes can be implemented, Sabah would be more progressive in infrastructure and economic development compared to Sarawak.

This is also because Sabah has more Chinese entrepreneurs, who work hard and are freer compared to Chinese in Sarawak. However, as reported in the media, Sarawak Civil Servants are more pro active compared to their counterparts in Sabah.  This statement was also made by Datuk John.

John claimed “nothing can be done in Sabah”.  Getting a decision or approval from civil servants in Sabah is like pushing a buffalo through the eye of a needle.  

His statement is true.  Maybe none of the plans and programmes introduced even by Hajiji as Chief Minister are being carried out by the Sabah Civil Servants.

There are numerous reports of Civil Servants both Federal and State who take their time to carry out even routine day-to-day business.  

There was a report of a Federal Servant at Putrajaya (Sabah) who arrives in the office at 8am, clocks in, and then goes to the canteen for coffee only to return at 9am.  After that this civil servant will go out for field work, spend an hour to make an appearance and then disappears for the remainder of the day.

It is common knowledge among Sabahans to not expect quick decisions or approvals from the local civil service.  Sabahans realise that:

1. Any decision or approval by the Chief Minister or any other Minster will only reach the State Secretary after two weeks;

2. The State Secretary will then leave the file on a desk for another two weeks before passing it to the Section Head;

3. The Section Head will take another two weeks before passing it to the Permanent Secretary or Director;

4. The Permanent Secretary or Director will take another 2 weeks before returning it to the Section Head for implementation.

5. The Section Head will take another two 2 weeks before taking action or refer back to the Boss.

That would have wasted a total of 10 weeks, just to get to the stage to start implementation. This besides allowing a few weeks for public holidays a year and “cuti cuti” balik kampung.

So far, nobody is serious about improving the government delivery system.  This, accordingly, has scared off local and foreign investors.

Anyway, despite the writings of John to help improve economic development in Sabah, no one has actually taken any of these issues seriously. However, John and Daily Express should continue highlighting what is wrong with Sabah for the benefit of Sabahans.

Rungus Economist





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