By Clement Lee
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Youth Exco Clement Lee has put the entire blame on the Barisan Nasional (BN) government who has failed miserably in improving the standard and quality of living of fellow Sabahans because of unsustainable economy, poor basic utilities, mediocre infrastructure and transportation planning, in no small part due to the lack of autonomy from current administration.
A recent study by World Bank entitled 2010 Malaysia Economy Monitor (MEM) found Sabah to be the poorest of any states in Malaysia. What did we do to deserve this title?
The hand-out of RM500 goodie by BN-led government for households earning less than RM3000 a month is merely a political gimmick to hook-wink the voters because the election is just around the corner. The hand-out should have been given long before BN decided to increase the price of petrol in few years back. Please bear in mind that we are not against this hand-out but why has it been taking so long and only one off payment?
He lamented that despite Sabah is blessed with rich and abundant of natural resources, yet our wages are one of the lowest in Malaysia, while ironically having the highest cost of living in the country. It has gradually emerged that the rich is getting richer while the poor is getting poorer and showing that the disparity of income between the rich and middle class is growing larger.
In fact, Sabah should be developed better than the 11 states in Semenanjung Malaysia today. In addition, Sabah is strategically located in the heart of South East Asia.
Posing these questions in a statement issued here today, SAPP Youth Exco Clement Lee stressed that the BN-led government has failed to create a sustainable economywhich lead to failure in producing enough jobs and business opportunities for the locals, whilst at the same time, stifling the market with an influx of illegal immigrants to compete for jobs with genuine Sabahans. This has and will continue to directly pull down the wages and affect the Sabahan job market.
He pointed out that with little purchasing power, we see the direct impact on the livelihoods of small and medium businesses statewide, as we notice shops and malls, coming and going at an alarming rate, ever so frequently.
Most of the young working adults find it hard to survive with the ever escalating cost of living whilst yet their salary remain stagnant, not tallying with the inflation in the state.
He continued that the Tourism Sector is one of the 3 sectors (Manufacturing, Tourism and Agriculture) identified in "Halatuju of the State" and is one of the three main thrusts of development of the state.Without giving much thoughts, consultations and deliberations, national carrier MAS has decided to terminate the 4 international flights to and fro KKIA. This ill-conceived move is directly affecting the local tourism industry, our tour agencies, tourist guides, hotel industries and many such related businesses.
He attributed all these problemscontribute that autonomy to Sabah is of paramount importance. For example: Cabotage and Open Sky policy. We cannot solely rely only on hand-outs given once in a blue moon to become our habit for Sabah development. It should be legitimate. We have dignity and pride. We must ensure the standard of living of fellow Sabahans improve and continue to improve with proper governance and administration, one that only a true-blooded Sabahan would understand, implement and manifest.
The time is now. Sabahans must take a stand and stay united in defending our rights and ensuring the return of the state government to the hands of Sabahans. Decisions, big and small, need not go through the Federal government. We decide our own future, ourselves.
Clement Lee is SAPP Youth Exco Member