Good policies, implementation ...just what Sabah needs
Published on: Sunday, May 09, 2021
By: Datuk John Lo
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Empowerment/Practical Policies Vs Funding? Why countries with abundant resources don’t do well, many are struck in the 3rd world cesspool and have become perennial economic failures? The world is literally littered with many such countries in oil/gas rich Middle East, diamond, gold, oil in Africa, well-endowed with natural resources in Latin America and South East Asia. Shamefully, our Malaysia is not much better. 

Those without natural resources are at the top of the world, like tiny red dot Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Superpower China. Commonality among them is their leaders’ consistent focus on implement empowerment/practical policies, refraining from spoiling their people with money, soaking with special rights and racial polemics like in Malaysia, overwhelmingly strong on emphasis on brain power and hard work.

Sabah is the basket-case example of mismanagement of natural resources, how we have mismanaged ourselves with thoughtless policies, greed and corruption, slumped to the lowest/worst income state in Malaysia. Stupidly [we better believe it], we have bungled/wasted our resources to become worse off than Kelantan. Adding to all these, we have failed to protect our equity rights to economic development funds from federal government. What does this tell us as a STATE? There should be no poverty in Sabah in the first place! Let’s make a new start and regain our economic dignity and pride!

Empowerment/practical Policies Vs Bad Policies.

To say Sabah did not have economic policies is not true. There were many, most of which were poorly thought through and self-serving for the few. Bad implementation in every sense, was common. Sabah’s badly managed majority of 250 GLCs are reflective of this situation. A review of past policies can tell us what has gone badly wrong. More importantly, Sabah needs to put through a whole range of empowerment/practical polices in the economy and administrative system!

Empowerment/practical policies need BRAIN. Brainless and/or selfish politicians produce bad policies or none at all. Consequentially, billions and billions have been wasted. Today, Sabahans are worse off than 30 years ago.

Empowerment/practical policies can up lift people up. Bad policies stifle society, impoverish the population and wasteful of funds.

Empowerment/Practical Policies Can Benefit More Sabahans.

China, Singapore and other Asian tigers have proven true that the economy can grow from strength to strength in an environment of empowerment, practical policies. Malaysia has proven the opposite, pouring unearned money into the people’s pockets or dishing out unearned privileges and special rights will NOT produce economic miracles. Malaysia has shown many such policies, coupled with poor implementation, greed and corruption. The result is hampered economic growth. Many Malaysians have been imprisoned under the poverty line. 

In contrast, empowerment/practical policies are efficient, can benefit more people, can give people self-reliance in all aspects. 

To get out of the quandary of middle-income trap, politicians must ditch their practice of making promises of free money, special rights etc. The reality is that no country in human history has ever succeeded granting special privileges, rights for the majority of the population in human history. This policy has produced a corrupted elite with the majority staying poor.

To escape middle income trap, Malaysia must have empowerment/practical polices that will reward on merits, brain power, hard work, honesty and innovation. Introduce these policies, then Malaysians can even outshine Singaporeans, South Koreans and the Chinese. Nothing wrong with Malaysians. What’s wrong is Malaysian politicians and their inept policies.

Empowerment/Practical Policies and Statesmanship/Leadership.

Showering money as if it is from heaven has produced failures, corruption and bad leaders. For a country to use policies for economic development, it must have leaders with the highest level of statesmanship, intelligence, creditability, vision and a passion/love for the country. Lee Kuan Yew and Deng Xiao Ping have such qualities. 

How do we know if a leader is good or bad? The best judge is his policies. A bad politician will pretend he will look after you, give you money etc. A bad politician also wants you to feed from his hand all the time so that he can lock up your vote. The gutter politician will exploit race and religion to garner political support. A good politician is one with brain and can produce policies that would empower you. He doesn’t need you to depend on him, he wants you to be self-reliant, to be able to look after your families and give your children a good education so that they can have a brighter future.

Good policies attract investors. Bad Policies deter investors.

Followings are some home truths about investments. [a] There are always people/companies with money to invest. They must invest to get returns for their money to stay ahead. [b] People/corporations will always seek best/conducive investment destinations. [c] Promoting/winning over good investors is a very tough/complex business. [d] Well managed countries, with an efficient investment regime and attractive/conducive policies are like pots of honey for investors, i.e., Singapore.

The reverse is true too. Poorly managed countries with ill prepared investment and lousy policies will attract predatory/exploitive investors or no investors, like Sabah in the last 3 years. You think this is not true? Look at the huge hole Mamut mine at the foot of Mt Kinabalu, the exploitive oil palm industry with minuscule employment and downstream, oil and gas being pump to outside Sabah to benefit other states at Sabahans’ expense.

Mammoth task to Switch to Quality Policy based Development.

It is a mammoth task to restructure Sabah’s economy from quality policy development, less reliance on fund development. Sabahans, especially politicians and officials, think that only funds, handouts can make things happen in economic development. Worse is the mindset that everything hinges on availability of funds. This is absolutely NOT TRUE. Changing this fund dependent mindset for politicians is tough.

To summarise:

[a] Not worth supporting a politician who cannot produce empowerment/practical policies to improve your life.

[b] Don’t waste your time on a politician who produces bad policies that will drag your life down.

[c] Give your whole hearted support to a politician who can produce empowerment/practical policies that can improve your life.

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