Shrug off the self-imposed defeatism
Published on: Sunday, June 06, 2021
By: Datuk John Lo
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“THE expression God helps those who help themselves is an ancient proverb. It stresses how important it is to be able to come to your own aid and take initiative in life, and not to just wait for and rely on divine intervention, or on the help of others for that matter. 

It also conveys that divine intervention is most likely to come to those who take action on their own behalf and not to those who sit back and wait for heavenly help to arrive.” 


Time for Sabah should consider this quotation seriously as we have, more often than not, blame others or refusing to take responsibility for our poverty and economic backwardness. Sabahans must take charge assertively and create our own destiny. For sure, no body will create wealth for us nor will they look after our interest. Any Sabahan expects otherwise is being unsophisticated and naive.

Sabahans should pursue our own economic destiny assertively.

Sabah has been blessed with numerous assets, which, if zealously protected and well managed, can give us abundance. Poverty should be non-existence. Most of the time, we like the easy out, not helping ourselves, overly eager to criticize without offering alternative solutions, have allowed non-Sabahans run rings around us, expecting manna to fall from heaven. End result? We have lost control of our economy. Most maddening is that the very parties which have taken our wealth are nowhere to be found when we need help most in the on-going pandemic. Zero help from the W Malaysian oil palm companies which have made billions and billions from our land. Yet they have persistently cried and wail on Sabah’s 7.5% sales tax on their CPO.

Sarawak has taken charge of its destiny and has been justly rewarded with a stronger economy.

Unlock Self-Imposed Defeatism

We must escape from the prison of self-imposed defeatism, we must say to ourselves that we can do, we can succeed, we can excel. We must discard negativity. If there is any hurdle, problem, be it environmental or anything else, we should not talk ourselves into inaction or spew out objections. Emulate many successful countries like Singapore, Maldives, China, USA, Australia. All of them have been able to find mitigations/solutions for them to advance their economic developments. Singapore has developed and reaped handsome returns from Sentosa Island. Best lesson for us is Jurong Island which has some major oil/gas facilities, giving Singapore, which does not have a drop of oil/gas resources, S$66.5 billion in 2005. Google “Jurong Island” to see for yourself!

Easiest way-out is don’t do anything. Object to everything. Then we will be poor forever. To be positive and to wrench for economic upliftment for our own people demand brain power and hard work.

KK is Grid-Locked.

We talk, we talk and we have been talking for years. If there is no courage to stop talking and do something, we will fall further and further behind. Meantime, KK is being strangled and mired down by constrains economically. Cost of doing business, which is already high, will continue increase. Attracting investors will be increasingly difficult. For KK to grow—- [a] KKIA must move location which has been talked about for years now. [b] KK must have more room to grow.

Merging Gaya Island and KK one development unit can transform KK into Asean’s leading  international city.

Reality 1. Gaya Island is within the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.

Reality 2. Above 2 photos [1966 and 2021] say it all in dramatically. The illegal settlement will increase enormously. Security, social problems and environmental integrity of Gaya Island are major issues which will increase exponentially in coming years. By 2050 or sooner, Sabah will lose control completely. Gaya Island as a park and tourist attraction will be destroyed. It will a slum.

Reality 3. There is no co-ordinated development plan, some resorts have already sprouted up haphazardly.

Reality 4. There are some private titled lands, no development is possible because of the settlements.

Reality 5. Years of rampant fish bombings and harvest of coral for road constructions have degraded the sea beds very badly.

Reality 6. Some land concessions have been granted to individuals. No guarantee that future governments will not give out more. 

Reality 7. The ugly truth, if Sabah does not bother to control and implement/impose a proper development plan, [a] Gaya Island will cease to be a park. It will become a “self-rule enclave” within Sabah, posing enormous social, security and economic problems to KK. Eventually KK residents, like those in Sandakan, may be forced to exile/refuge inland [b] Sabah will have lost a golden opportunity to develop Gaya Island, to attract multibillion investments and well-pay jobs for ourselves and future generations’ benefits.

Solution is to set up “The Gaya Island Development Authority”.

Malaysia and all advance countries have set up all sorts of development authorities to focus on a specific development agenda, i.e. Langkawi island, Jurong island. 

Role of The Gaya Island Development Authority:

[a] To produce an economic development blue print to develop Gaya Island as a complementary part of KK, to greatly enlarge Sabah’s economy in the next 50years for government’s approval.

[b]  This blue print is: -

[b1] To transform Gaya Island and KK into one of the best international cities in Asean.

[b2] To spur sustainable and beneficial social, economic developments for Sabahans, to generate high-pay jobs, to attract domestic/foreign investments for Sabah, create business opportunities for Sabahans.

[b3] To take into account of the environmental issues, their mitigations and enhancements, bearing in mind of the need to restore present degraded conditions by years of extensive fish bombing and coral harvest for road construction.

[b4] To resolve, resettle and control existing uncontrolled settlements.

[b5] To engage Sabahan and international consultants of repute for the blue print of Gaya Island.

[c] To oversee implementation/execution of this economic development blue print.

[d] To recommend suitable/reputable JV parties for the development of Gaya Island for the approval of the Sabah Government.

[e] The Sabah Government shall appoint a chairman and 6 members of The Gaya Island Development Authority.

Don’t let non-Sabahans control us. Unite so that Sabahans can control our economic destiny. 

Don’t dope ourselves that we cannot do this and do that! Sabah’s greatest assets are Sabahans with positive mindsets! “God helps those who help themselves.”

We can do it!


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