Expect false prophets and their promises
Published on: Sunday, September 25, 2022
By: Datuk John Lo
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1. Politicians are making promises, GE15 must be near.

The Parliamentary election must be near. Political leaders have started to make overly attractive but improbable promises. As W Malaysia is in a political mess, it is expected that no party/coalition will or can emerge the clear winner. The support from Sabah and Sarawak will likely determine the outcome as to which party/coalition will rule Malaysia in the next 5 years. Not surprising therefore that “new ideas” and “rosy promises” are being uttered to woe the voters in Sabah and Sarawak, most notably of which are some unreal/unrealistic/surrealistic suggestions on the positions of Sabah and Sarawak.

Best ever opportunity political leaders to position Sabah for speedier MA63 implementation.

2. Brief summary of these ideas/promises.

First thing first. Sabahans should take cognizance of all the promises from W Malaysian political parties and political leaders made in Sabah since 1963. There are enough materials of these empty promises to overwhelm many PhD students. Secondly, more amazing promises will emerge as 15th GE approaches. The political leaders have no qualms making promises they don’t mean to keep. One elder political leader even had the audacity to say that his Pakatan government cannot keep its election promises because his coalition did not expect to win.

What are these new promises? Broadly, they are: [a] Enhancement of the status of Sabah and Sarawak, the implication being that the 2 E Malaysian states have signed on a bad deal in 1963. [b] Create a new Malaysia agreement. This is laughable as MA63 is not just an ordinary agreement like a SNP. It is about the creation of a nation. [c] Laughable that Malaysa can achieve zero hardcore poverty by 2025. Sabah has too many zero income cases!

On corruption, one senior opposition leader has said E Malaysian politicians should not point fingers on W Malaysian politicians for Malaysia’s massive corruption. E Malaysians have all the right to hold W Malaysian leaders accountable because: [a] They have all the necessary authority to stamp out corruption but have failed to do so badly. The Sultan of Perak has said it—-corruption is everywhere. [b] The W Malaysian politicians have committed the biggest corruptions, in the hundreds and billions of RM. Corruption eradication must start from the Federal Government leaders. 





3. These political statements should be considered in the context of the lack of economic development fundings.

Any one with basic intelligence will know [a] you do not negotiate for a new agreement when the other party has failed to fulfil the most important parts of the existing agreement. This is exactly the position with MA63. [b] For the same reason, you do not believe the other party can give you enhancement of the agreement.

Here is what I think of these statements. [a] Politician’s objective of talking the aforementioned points is to woe Sabahan voters only. History of broken promises should have been a good teacher but Sabahans have been stupid to believe them in all previous elections. Must stop being made use of! [b] Politicians making these statements have not given rationale reasons for their statements. [c] They have not given an assessment of the progress or the lack of it in the on-going implementation of the MA63 Constitutional Amendments. [d] There is no talk on the quality or the lack of it, on the speed or the lack of it in the on-going implementation.

4. GE15 will be conducted in turbulent times.

GE15 is inevitable. Its timing is only important for politicians. The current parliamentary term will end in June next year, possibility of a 6 month-extension. Good for Sabahans to assess the present global and domestic scenario before casting their votes wisely, in the maximum interest of Sabah.

The world we live in now is chaotic. The Russian/Ukraine war has produced many unexpected geopolitical and economic adverse consequences. USA and EU have carelessly thought their sanctions, seizure of Russia’s US$ reserves would cause the Russian economy to collapse or implode. Far be from it. Instead [a] It has caused record high inflation in Europe and America in 40 years, [b] EU may disintegrate. [c] Has caused change of governments in EU, the latest will be Italy. [d] Poor and emerging nations are facing shortages in food, basic stuff like fertilisers. [e] Fuel cost has shot through the roof. [f] Quickening the emergence of a multi-polar global system in the form of SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and de-dollarisation. [g] Much to the disappointment and embarrassment of USA and EU, Russia is enjoying larger revenue from a smaller volume of commodity exports, especially oil and gas.

No idea when will the Russia/Ukraine war will end. Neither will we know how long or how bad the present global economic disorder will persist.

Malaysia will face with numerous headwinds going into GE15. Sabah is particularly vulnerable. Our inflation rate is high. We don’t produce enough food. On top of which, the political uncertainties in W Malaysia are not helpful. Thanks be to the Almighty, right now the political stability in Sabah and Sarawak are like the proverbial “beacons of hope” in Malaysia.

In view of the prevailing circumstances, Sabah must exercise extreme discernment so that we can continue our economic development that Hajiji has given Sabah so far.

5. What has Hajiji achieved so far?

Sabah’s journey to equitable partnership is long, very long and difficult. Hajiji has started it with a creditable strategy which is bearing results.

[a] Most fundamentally, the beginning of realignment of federal relationship from taiko/subservient to the emergence of some form of partnership has started. The MA63 constitutional amendments done in December 2021. The “partnership” is not perfect yet. It is work in progress but it is in the right direction. At least there is mutual respect.

[b] Hajiji has said in his speech on Malaysia Day and on many occasions that Sabah would continue to demand our rights to be honoured especially on Sabah’s share of 40% of revenue. No other CM has said it before. [c] Some significant concrete results with Petronas which was impossible for more than 30 years. These are huge [1] Sales Tax on petroleum products. [2] Commercial Collaborative Agreement. [3] LNG plant in SOGIT. [4] Sabah Gas Master Plan. Bung Moktar and Dr Jeffry have also been fighting strongly for Sabah’s rights.

[d] Hajiji has announced Sabah’s own model of 2nd Home for foreigners.

[e] Dr Jeffry has regained the authority to issue deep sea fishing licences.

[f] Sabah will establish the Sabah Energy Commission which will mean Sabah will regulate our power generation.

[f] There is much more collaboration in investment promotion between Sabah and Federal, resulting in substantial inflow into Sabah. Sabah is 3rd largest investment recipient state so far.

[g] Major improvement in medical facilities and personnel especially in greater number of specialists and nurses.

[h] Most importantly, Hajiji’s Sabahans First Policy is taking root and producing benefits for Sabah’s youth in ITP, oil & gas and manufacturing. To come will be many more job and business opportunities for Sabahans as more implementations of investments materialize.

6. Sabah’s best insurance of meaningful MA 1/3 partnership is to attain strong economy and unity.

We should not listen to political clairvoyants in the coming GE15. Recognise the existing very difficult and uncertain times which is likely to worsen. A lot worse, if China decides to retake Taiwan as Biden has vowed to defend it. The W Malaysian political circus will unlikely ebb after GE15 and may spin out of control. Sabahans must be clear-eyed. Sabah’s best insurance is to strengthen and nurture our own internal economy and unity which Hajiji is building. These will enable Sabah to forge ahead with confidence.

Not susceptible to the exploitation of “divide and rule”. The worst mistake Sabahans can make is reverting to the old ways of begging for every single RM from the Federal Government. This is Hajiji’s greatest achievement—-he has done away this self-depreciating posture. He has established the Sabah/Federal relationship on the basis of Sabah’s equitable right. With our resources and by becoming an equitable 1/3 partner of Malaysia, we shouldn’t have to beg. All that Sabah wants is [a] our entitlements being a 1/3 of Malaysia, [b] Our 40% share of revenue. [c] an equitable share of revenues, annual budgets, fair share of representation in all decision-making & implementation process in important national economic and financial policies. Nothing more nothing less. 

A good example is the yearly annual budget. In addition to submitting suggestions to the Federal Ministry of Finance which is same like begging, Sabah should and must be represented on the same table to decide on “who gets what”, “where to spend” and “how to spend”. This is what 1/3 partnership is all about. Sabah must get to decide on money, on financial/economic policies at the national level as an equal partner.


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