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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A "Wake-up" Call for Sabahans

Let the wind Blow above and not below it.

Taken from Lim Kit Siang Blog

“916” this year has added significance, as it marks not only Malaysia Day but also the yearnings of Sabahans for a new Malaysia where they enjoy full citizenship status and benefits as Malaysians.

In the past 45 years, Sabahans have been denied their full citizenship rights – which is symbolised most vividly by the government failure to declare Malaysia Day on September 16 as a national public holiday.

After 45 years, Sabah’s problems are more than a basketful.

Sabah is a rich state with vast natural resources but the people of Sabah have been denied an equitable share of the wealth of the state.

Not only hard-core poverty, but poverty, should have been eradicated in Sabah by now. Instead, poverty in Sabah is the worst in the country.

Last year, I raised in Parliament the tragedy of the suicide of a 11-year-old Dusun boy from Kinarut, Donny John Dion, because of acute and desperate poverty of his family by hanging himself at home at Kampung Suangon in the Papar parliamentary constituency.

It is a state and national disgrace that in the 21st century, 11-year-old Donny could be driven to suicide because of the poverty and deprivation suffered by his family 45 years after the birth of Malaysia.

The Sabah Chief Minister should have resigned in shame and disgrace at a scandal like Donny’s suicide but there had neither been moral stirrings nor sense of responsibility by any of the Barisan Nasional leaders whether at state or national level for Donny’s tragedy.

Secondly, there is the problem of an equitable share of Sabahans in the “black gold” in the state.

A Pakatan Rakyat federal government will ensure that Sabah will get 20% of the oil royalty from Petronas and not just 5%, so that greater resources can be devoted for the development and empowerment of ordinary Sabahans.

Thirdly, the long-standing rampant corruption in Sabah. The state tops the list of states in the country in terms of corruption.

Fourthly, another long-standing problem of illegals with Sabahans reduced to strangers in their own land – completely overwhelmed by a larger population of foreigners in the state. Sabahans have a right to demand the return to the old days when they can feel safe not only in the streets and public places, but even in their homes when they could leave their houses open without fear of becoming victims of rampant crime.

Fifthly, the marginalisation of the Sabahans, particularly the Kadazan-Dusun-Murut community, depriving them of the full fruits and benefits of Malaysian citizenship.

In the flurry of “goodies” after the March 8 “political tsunami” to ensure the allegiance of BN MPs in Sabah in view of their sudden “kingmaker” role in ensuring the survival of Umno hegemony and Barisan Nasional government in Putrajaya, among the measures announced by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were the appointment of a Sabahan to be Vice Chancellor of Universiti Sabah Malaysia and to head the federal development department.

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