Sabah opportunity in US anti-China move
Published on: Sunday, May 23, 2021
By: Datuk John Lo
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The West’s Decline.

ALL of us have been brought up, indoctrinated that the West’s political/democratic system is best. Unquestionably, we have aspired, ope the West in our dressing, food, culture, music. The weaker nations, colonised, disenfranchised, subservient for 30o years, have swallowed wholesale their so-called fairness, human rights, free competition, globalization, and rule-based world system. 

The West has imposed all the rules that are heavily loaded in their favour! The West’s superiority was further entrenched into our psyche after the breakup of the former Soviet Union, elevating USA as the world’s only Superpower. USA has been the unchallenged, unchallengeable leader, to be listened to, to be obeyed.

A few countries, courageously or perhaps foolishly, had refused to submit to the American hegemony. 

To subdue them, USA has inflicted on/punish them with economic sanctions, economic/political sabotage, regime change and if these don’t bring submission/compliance, USA would rain them with bombs. Coming to mind are countries like Cuba, Latin America, Vietnam, Korea [divided into 2], Philippines and absolutely the worst, the whole Middle East [Iraq, Iran, Libya, Afghanistan Yemen, Lebanon, Syria]. 

Where are the human rights of the millions of Muslims/Arabs, now the Palestinians? The only objection is from USA on a China’s Security Council resolution for ceasefire on 16th May 2021. Then USA has approved to sell more than USD700m arms to Israel. Remember the anti- Malaysian oil palm campaign by USA for more than 25 years simply because we can produce edible oil more efficient, cheaper than the American soya and sunflower oils. Of late, American Custom has seized more Malaysian rubber gloves. 

Nobody has appointed USA as the judge, persecutor and jury for all nations in the world, to inflict punishments as where, when and how it likes. What sort of rule-based order 

USA is talking?

Then China came.

Then China came into the scene with her 1.4 billion hard working population, determined to emerge from its 100 years of humiliation and opium war by the West. In typical Sun Tzu’s war strategy, China kept low, developed her economic strength until it is too late for the American to suppress it to its will. The erstwhile poor China has emerged as the Dragon of the East, better organised, more competitive, just as innovative as USA. Caught flat footed, USA began to realise China is no longer a push over. She has become the 2nd super power, rapidly overtaking USA’s No. 1 superpower position. Unlike the American, China has promoted multilateralism, willing to trade/cooperate with all countries. It’s Belt and Road strategy has worked well. Trying to suppress the Chinese rise, American has led a few Anglo-Saxon countries in a vicious campaign against China, including show of force in the South China Sea. Their bullying campaign reveals their true ugly ego, double-standards and evil intentions. The world has woken up to the real West which has kept the rest of the world poor, under colonial rule for the last 3 centuries.

Can USA and its cohorts bend China into submission? Remember, with tails in between legs, the Americans have run away from the Viet Cong in Vietnam, gave up and left Iraq in a mess and now cowing away from the rag-tag Taliban in Afghanistan.

Sabah’s Golden Opportunities in China/ USA Feud.

While the proverbial elephants are fighting, Sabah, if we are nimble in our steps and dexterous in strategy, can benefit tremendously. [a] First to know is that our economic future is not with USA and its allies. They have no economic interest or geopolitical reasons to come near Sabah. Sabah cannot offer anything that they want. [b] Their markets are too far away. Likewise, their tourists have only been arriving in small numbers. [c] China is our obvious choice cos it is a rapidly expanding market, 1.4 billion people with increasing income. Also, it is nearby. Sabah can offer lots of things that China needs.

Areas For Sabah To Work With China.

[a] High Value Tourism.

Tourism is the obvious first choice, with a different emphasis. So far, Sabah has attracted mostly low value Chinese tourists. 130m Chinese tourists leave for overseas travel each year. The high value ones prefer USA, UK, Europe, Australia and Singapore. Golden Opportunity is now for Sabah to get into this lucrative segment.

Investment in tourism products is another area with great potential as these will help to entrench Sabah as a tourist destination in China. Good example is Sabahan owned Club Med managed Club Med Hotel in Kuala Penyu!

[c] Agriculture, food security and supply. 

This area has great potential. Sabah has millions of under or uncultivated acres. China wants tropical exotic fruits, marine products. China has made momentous strides in rice cultivation to fit her huge population. It can quite easily help Sabah in rice sufficiency. The possibility in agriculture is almost endless.

[d] ITP [Industrial Tree Planting] and Downstream Industrialization. China leads the world in reforestation/re-greening and most outstandingly, reverse desertification. JVs for Sabah/China to restore degraded forests can be a big boost for our future. China is the biggest market for wood furniture which is increasingly popular as a status symbol. The Chinese market will be important for Sabah’s ITP downstream industrialization. 

[e] Logistics, Aviation And Marine Hubs in KK. 

Act NOW before some else get into it before us. Geographically, Sabah has the best position. KKIA, before COVID19, by far, is the busiest airport in Borneo. To reinforce KKIA as a full-fledged aviation hub, Sabah needs to look into expanding supporting services. Sepanggar is being upgraded for transhipment. Likewise, establishing supporting services will position it as the marine hub. Sabah will greatly benefit from the synergies of KK being a regional joint aviation/marine hub.

[f] Oil And Gas Industrialization.

Sabah must escape from the economic life-threatening grip of Petronas. More assertiveness can do a lot for Sabah. Sabah needs to regain control of oil/gas, or at least a substantial part to fuel our industrialization.

Sabah must be free to invite China, which is the greatest importer of oil, to establish processing facilities in our State. BTW, the largest 2 oil companies aren’t American. They are Chinese.

[g] Eradication Of Poverty.

China has elevated 800 million out of poverty, the greatest number in human history. Solution for Sabah’s poverty is not insurmountable if we are willing to ask for Chinese advice. Remember, Mr. Liang Caide has already made a public offer on this matter.

Nothing is free.

Yes indeed. Nothing comes free. Only fools believe it. Sabah must be realistic, cleared eye, not to expect freebies, privileges. Asking for these can only cheapen ourselves, makes us lose respect. 

Sabah must know what we to do and what we want. Drive a good bargain. Only careful planning, when talking to China, will bring forth long term economic benefits – mutual benefits that are real for all Sabahans.

Make China our development partner is the right way to go.


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