Monday, May 13, 2013

Najib Owes Rural Folks, Sabah And Sarawak, Time To Correct The Imbalance.

Hantu Laut

BN, won by the skin of its teeth riding on rural and semi-rural votes and battered by the rural-urban divide and massive Chinese votes swing. 

He would have two-thirds if the swings weren't of epic proportion.

I don't think the Chinese expect anything from the government. The Chinese being more independent and self-sufficient will know how to take care of themselves.

It is the rural folks that have been shafted for years that need help. They have been played out over and over again. It is time to correct the imbalance.

Now, that the dust have settled, Najib is in a bigger quandary on how he is going to reward his supporters.

His party won on the backing of rural folks and saved from losing the Federal government by the fixed deposit states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Would Najib return the favour ?

Opportunity doesn't knock twice, Najib should give greater care to those who supported him. From now on he should push for greater development in rural areas in Peninsula Malaysia and more aggressive development in Sabah and Sarawak. Without these two East Malaysian states he would have lost Putrajaya.

Sabah and Sarawak have the poorest infrastructure in the whole country. Bad roads, poor health care, inadequate water and electricity supply and rural population that live below subsistence level. Every essential items cost more than Peninsula Malaysia.

Sabah roads are in terrible conditions, bad construction and poor maintenance culture have made our roads as bad as any third world country and the situation become even more appalling in rural areas where rural roads are either badly gravelled or dirt roads, which become dangerous and impassable during rainy seasons bringing a lot of hardship to the rural people.

The same sad state of affairs prevails in other sectors like health care, power supply and clean water supply are just as horrendous. Port and airport facilities are still behind acceptable standard.

Only 39% of roads in Sabah are sealed compared to almost 90% in Peninsula Malaysia. 

The Federal government have taken Sabah and Sarawak for granted and neglected the states for far too long and it is time they wake up and take immediate remedial action to correct the inequitable distribution of development expenditure, or face serious retribution in the next general elections due in 2018.

No pain no gain. Part of the problems are Sabah leaders, patronising too much to Federal leaders, afraid of making demands  and wanting always to be in the good book of the prime minister. This personification of self-preservation have hindered developmental progress of the state. 

Unlike Sarawak, Sabah lost its claws the day they brought UMNO into the state. The state exists at the whims and fancies of Federal leaders. 

It is time for Sabah and Sarawak to make demands to the federal government to deliver its promises and better treatment. Najib owes it to us.

Najib should:

1.Increase Sabah and Sarawak representation in the Federal cabinet by appointing more Federal ministers from the two states. We want important ministries, not window dressing. There is no need for deputy prime minister. We don't want stooge ministry, just give us any of the principal ministries.

2.To build international standard dual-carriageway linking East-West and North-South Sabah and to be completed before the end of this term.

3.Allocate more funds to build and seal rural roads to acceptable standard.

4.Build more hospitals and clinics in rural areas.

5.Build more schools in the rural areas and build more residential schools in towns to enable children from the interior to attend secondary education that is not presently available in rural areas.

6.Provide cheaper power and clean water to the rural areas.

7.Complete the Pan Borneo highways as promised. The road should bypass Brunei for ease of travel for both Sabahans and Sarawakians. The present route that passes through Brunei is ridiculously cumbersome needing at least eight immigration checkpoints.

8.Increase oil royalty. We don't want the unrealistic and unreasonable 20% promised by Anwar, just increase the oil royalty by 3% to 8% for Sabah and Sarawak. This will help the states to use the money to bring more development to the rural areas.



Sabah being the poorest state in Malaysia may be a presumptuous assumption, not all that true. However, there are still pockets of people in the rural areas that live below the poverty line, out of choice, self-infliction of the dependency syndrome, rather than total government neglect. Idleness being a major contributing factor to such despondency. 



In many other countries if you own land, you are considered well-off as land can be your life-support, or even give you more than enough for your own consumption if you till the land and grow the right crop.

In Sabah, vast stretches of land in the rural areas are either left uncultivated, or rented out to migrants to cultivate. 

Many arable land are rented out to Bugis or Timorese migrant farmers for quick and easy money. It goes to show the idle nature of the natives here. If these migrants can till the land, pay rent and profit from it, why can't the landowner till their own land.

It is the government duty to provide infrastructures to every nook and cranny of the country, not just in urban areas. 

The government should pay more attention to rural constituencies and to bring greater social justice and development to the rural folks.


11 comments:

A Voice said...

Totally agree.

Although not enough said in the blog, this has been consistently the issue I keep raising down here in private close door discussion in Semenanjung.

If only Sabah and Sarawak understand that we are already one nation, they must stop crying wolf too often.

Or their concerns will be lost in Putrajaya.

All states have issue with kerajaan pusat. Not just Sabah and Sarawak.

Purple Haze said...

Here are the numbers to substantiate your point.

Peninsula Malaysia
BN won 75 seats
PR won 80 seats

Sabah & Sarawak
BN won 57 seats
PR won 9 seats

Basically, BN lost in Peninsula Malaysia and won with the seats in Sabah and Sarawak.

The irony of your article is that even after so many years of negligence, the voters of Sabah and Sarawak still go with BN, who will undoubtedly once again, tout development, development and more development.

On the other hand, the voters in 2 of the most industrialised states in Penisula - Penang and Selangor, have given the PR 2/3 majority to rule. Given that these two states probably contribute up to 80% of Peninsula Malaysia's GDP, that is an awesome mandate given.

Sabah & Sarawak area also very wealthy states but where is all the money gone ? This is one of the main points in the PR agenda during the last election.

You are bringing this up as well. If you have to bring this up again by the time of the next election, you really need to re-asses if the BN govt is doing its best for the rakyat or for its cronies.

Taib Mahmud thumbs his nose at MACC. Musa Aman brings in RM 40 million unreported (until found out). These are not the right kind of leaders to take the rakyat of Sabah and Sarawak to better days.

IT.Sheiss said...

Purple Haze wrote:-

"The irony of your article is that even after so many years of negligence, the voters of Sabah and Sarawak still go with BN, who will undoubtedly once again, tout development, development and more development."

If that be so, why then do the people of Sabah and Sarawak continue to vote BN?

Is it because they prefer to vote for one of their local parties which is a BN coalition partner or is it because the Pakatan has not offered them a better alternative to their real-life local problems?

SM said...

HL,

Pretty sad isn't it.

Purple Haze beat me to the line by substantiating the numbers.

After 50years Sabah & Sarawak are still asking for basic utilities? Go figure.

The BN was supposed to "reward" East Malaysia after the 2008 GE but it never did. Please don't blame Pak Lah. Najib was at the helm for the last 3 years or so & should have done more but I guess doling out Money & Goodies to the whole country takes time!

Don't hold your breath! BN has gotten away with giving peanuts to Sabah, Sarawak & the Rural folk in Peninsular. We have seen that the BN doesn't change so why would they change now (just look at what's happening in the Media now....on the one hand Najib says reconciliation but on the other hand, Utusan, PERKASA & UMNO are still spewing Racial hatred left & right!)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this sane write up without putting any race as a bogeyman and at last admitting that it is an urban-rural division.

Yup, let's see whether the janji will be tetapi over the next 5 years or will it line more ministers and their cronies/families pockets.

The Chinese may not want anything FROM the government but they would like to contribute towards nation building FOR the government.

Y1

SM said...

HL,

Y1 (Anonymous 12:44PM) spoke too soon. He/she hasn't read your most recent article!

Purple Haze said...

First, my apologies to SM for "beating him/her to the line" for providing the seat allocation numbers. I am usually quite slow to write.

Second, to answer IT.Sheiss's question of "If that be so, why then do the people of Sabah and Sarawak continue to vote BN?", it should really be directed at HantuLaut as he is the most able to answer that.

However, I will hazard a few guesses.

1) RESOURCES
The BN machinery has the money and govt machinery to have the electorate vote in its favour. KIV the ongoing RCI on NRICs, the unreported funds brought into the country by the sitting CM of Sabah and of course, the fabulously wealthy CM of Sarawak.

Enough said.

2) URBAN/RURAL DIVIDE
DAP won 9 parliamentary seats in the recent elections. All are in the urban areas. The needs are different in the two spatial/class divisions.

3) INFORMATION
Or lack of. Internet access is limited, thus reducing the flow of alternative news.

4) OPPOSITION HISTORY
Other than DAP in the urban areas, PKR and PAS do not have a long history in Sabah & Sarawak due to resources and also territorial issues of the local based oppostion parties,

The local based opposition parties are also not organised as a coalition and hence, fragmented.

5) CANDIDATE INTEGRITY
All too often, the oppostion MPs cross the aisle to be "friendly" to the govt side. The weak opposition gets weaker.

The last elections showed an interesting phenomena. It was remarked that BN will pay you at attend their ceramah, whereas for the PR ceramahs, the people actually donated money to the opposition. What a stark difference.

In Sabah and Sarawak, they are not there yet, though certainly, the BN parties have the financial resources to attract the voters. And that is the prime consideration for the rural voters.

Finally, here's an interesting fact. Sabah and Sarawak account for 66 seats or about 30% of the 222 parliamentary seats. The population of Sabah and Sarawak is only 5.7 million or 20% of Malaysia's total population of 28.5 million. I don't expect the next delineation exercise by the EC will rectify this disproportionate anomaly.

Gram Kong said...

A Voice,

Sabahans, only asking for fair share of development expenditure, particularly, for infrastructures , which are still far behind Peninsula Malaysia and we have tolerated this for half a century, things must change.

I believe you have been to Sabah and must have seen yourself the horrendous conditions of our roads.

I believe Malaysia has not come of age to be of one race yet. Anwar and Pakatan leaders are kidding themselves and fooling the people, communal politics will continue to take centrestage in this country.

Anonymous said...

Halooo Purple Haze, it's 85 BN and 82 PR in Peninsula...

Anonymous said...

The only person that can break the Malay dominance in politic is Anwar. He wants to be the PM and the supporters of DAP have supported him with clear reason. Even if Anwar fielded a Bangla for PKR the DAP supporters will still vote for them.

Purple Haze said...

Anonymous 6.32 pm

My apologies, you are partially right.

Its BN 85 seats in Peninsula and 80 seats for PR

And its 48 seats for BN and 9 for PR in Sabah and Sarawak.

10 seats were misrepresented in the info that was given to me. Apologies.

HL, I love visiting Sabah for its natural beauty. Yes, the infrastructure sucks and the pace of life is slow (which is not altogether a bad thing!) and food is great.

There is always the philosophioal question of whether the people's way of life should be changed and if so, does it go on a fast track or gradually. But certain things must be provided - clean water, education, healthcare and roads.

Without these, Sabah will always be "poor".