Lim Kit Siang wrote "2013 in three years’ time mark Sabah’s 50th anniversary in the formation of Malaysia. It is appropriate in preparing for the occasion to seriously assess whether the dreams of Sabahans and Sarawakians in 1963 to form Malaysia had been fulfilled or betrayed." In other words should we stay in Malaysia?
Is Kit Siang suggesting that we should consider cessation from the Federation if we are not happy with how we have been treated all these years and to seriously assess whether our dreams to form Malaysia had been fulfilled or betrayed or have we been given full citizenship rights? Is he suggesting that we have been cheated by the West Malaysians in general and Federal leaders in particular.
I do agree with Kit Siang that Sabah have been lagging behind other states in Malaysia due to neglect, corruptions and ineptitude of its leaders to deal with Federal leaders who wore superiority tags on their sleeves. Sabah development was also much hindered by bureaucratic red tape at the Federal level.Where Federal funded projects are concerned concept and design are done from the chairs in Kuala Lumpur without taking into consideration the local conditions and local sentiments.If anything can go wrong, it will.
A good example of Murphy's Law is the design of flyovers in Kota Kinabalu.It is a telling sign of the arrogance and irresponsibility of the Federal civil servants.It's like being given half-cooked food to eat.Sabah only deserved half a flyover and half of everything else.Like everything else all Federal projects get the same half-dosage treatment.
Try visit the KK Court House and you be amazed what a maze you are in.It has the worst interior design in the universe looking more like a maze rather than a court house.The same goes with the new mini Putrajaya.It's look beautiful on the outside but inside is a grim reminder of a dysfunctional building.
Approved projects are often slowed down by funding that comes in trickles, half-opened tap, distrusting Sabahans to handle Federal funds.The health care system, like everything else that has a Federal label on it, is not caring enough to the health of Sabahans.There was no forward planning.It's ad hoc and hocus pocus.
The Federal government can only see five years ahead, that's why they have what they called the 'Five-Year Plan'.Should have been named the 'Myopic Five Year Plan.' Five years in the 'Stone Age' may be a long time but five years in the 'Jet Age' is as fast as the blink of an eye.
Sabah has this thing called political jinx.From the days of Chief Minister Tun Mustapha Harun the raping of Sabah natural resources has not ceased.It was the start of a long series of timber politics and the rapes of Sabah forests and her other resources by greedy politicians and their cronies.
Mustapha was running wild and running his own fiefdom using Sabah's rich timber resources to finance his prodigal lifestyle.He was the only Malaysian leader who had the use of personal jet paid for by the state.Even the then Prime Minister Tengku Abdul Rahman didn't have one. Sabah was rich.Kota Kinabalu has more Mercs on the roads than Kuala Lumpur then.
Timber politics continued under Berjaya. Harris was seen as a saviour that saved Sabah from the excesses of Mustapha.The increased economic activities during his time did not stop corruptions either.Under Harris, Sabah prospered a little and was the epitome of multiracial politics.That didn't last long either.The sacking of Joseph Pairin from the cabinet that culminated in massive losses suffered by Harris and his other party candidates in state elections put an end to multiracial politics in Sabah.
Under Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the entire state fell into disrepair, prolonged economic inactivity almost bankrupted the state.It was a government that spent more time drinking themselves to death rather than working to develop the state.The state lost most of its arable land during this period.Vast tract of lands were given to cronies which were later sold to plantation companies from West Malaysia.Most of the big oil palm plantations in Sabah are owned by West Malaysian companies.Nothing wrong with that if they plough back some of the profits to other investments in Sabah.They didn't.All profits are kept for the benefits of the shareholders.Very little of those money came back to Sabah.
Kit Siang asked how come the richest state can be reduced to become the poorest state in Malaysia?
Kit Siang should also ask the timber towkays of Sabah of the early days and the politicians that have been hand in glove with them not only to rape the forests but also allowed those crooked businessmen to under declare prices and cheat on payment of royalties.One of the biggest operator at that time reputedly can, out of every 10 shipments, avoided paying royalties on at least 5 shipments.We are talking million of ringgit of lost revenue every month.It was estimated that the state lost between RM200/300 million a year to crooked timber towkays.
One of the greatest injustices done to Sabah's economy were done by the timber towkays of Sabah who parked most of their money in Hong Kong by under declaring prices and under paying royalties.Asked them about the millions they kept in Hong Kong during their timber heydays.Ask how much have they reinvested in Sabah?Ask those corrupt forestry officers how much timber royalties were lost through cheating, corruptions and collaboration involving them and the towkays.
Through hard work, deception and crooked ways many have become filthy rich and some have died of old age and handed over their wealth to their children.
So, it is not just the Federal government to be blamed, Sabahans themselves have inflicted serious injury to the state economic health by their greed and dishonesty.
For Kit Siang, if he didn't already know, we are better off in Malaysia than being swallowed by Indonesia or the Philippines which was what the British feared would happen if we were left on our own.