KOTA KINABALU: Frustrated with the current scenario, the Sabah-based political party led by former chief minister Yong Teck Lee wants to reinstate the original terms of the 20-point Malaysia Agreement inked in 1963.
The party argued that the people of Sabah had lost their political autonomy through the presence of centralised Kuala Lumpur-based parties, in particular Barisan Nasional/Umno and now Pakatan Rakyat.
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), which filed for registration on Jan 20, 1994 and was approved by the Registrar the following day, would be fielding candidates in more than half of the state’s 60 constituencies and most of the 25 parliamentary seats.
The party, a BN component member until it pulled out on Sept 17, 2008, now had two MPs and two members in the State Legislative Assembly.
“Sabah has suffered enough and this coming election is an appropriate window of opportunity for the people to make a change by giving SAPP the mandate to helm the state government and more voice in Parliament,” said the party’s Liawan vice-chairman Joseph Lakai.
The member of the Progressive Institute of Public Policy Analysis (PIPPA) was speaking at a Malaysia Day gathering of supporters from four villagers – Dangulad, Ria, Taurid Taud and Liawan – in Keningau yesterday.
Lakai, touted to be SAPP’s candidate for Liawan, told the gathering that Sabah had already come to its 49 years of independence and 49 years of formation of the federation of Malaysia.
He recounted how in 1965, Singapore was expelled from the federation of Malaysia and became a fully independent nation.
“Singapore has now become the richest country in Southeast Asia and the sixth richest country in Asia while Sabah has become the poorest state in Malaysia with major problems,” he said.
Racial and religious polarisation
Lakai pointed out that Sabah had to tolerate 37 years of regressive educational system and had to sacrifice three generations of global competitiveness in the name of nationhood.
“Yet, racial and religious polarisation in Malaysia today is worse than the early days of independence,” he added.
He further stated that after 49 years of centralised economic and financial mismanagement, the national debt totalled RM490 billion. Debt created to develop Malaya which Sabah and Sarawak now must share to pay.
He added that for the interest of nationhood and protecting the national shipping industry – the Cabotage Policy was introduced in 1980. Sabah had to suffer 32 years of discrimination and disenfranchisement, as a result, Sabah had the highest cost of living in Malaysia.
According to him, after 49 years with Malaysia, Sabah had the worst health system and the highest incidence of vector diseases such as TB and Malaria, in addition to suffering from insufficient specialist doctors and nurses, insufficient medical facilities and infrastructure.
He said Sabah had the highest mortality of 13 per 1,000 live births compared to 8.1 for the nation.
“Fourteen years after Tenaga National Berhad (TNB) took over power generation and distribution in Sabah, the state still suffers the highest interruption (2,600 mins) of electricity supply in Malaysia compared to the lowest interruption (33 mins) in Malaya, as a result of this, Sabah is not allowed to industrialise and encourage investments opportunities,” he added.
Lakai said Sabah, despite being the main producer of palm oil and Petroleum in Malaysia, also had the highest poverty rate in the country and insufficient basic needs. Sabah and Sarawak had only 9,000km of sealed roads compared to 31,40km in Malaya.
Teach BN a lesson
He also noted that Sabah had insufficient clean water supply with only 34% coverage compared to 95% coverage in Malaya. Sabah had the lowest coverage of electricity supply, 49% without electricity compared to 0.5% without electricity in Malaya.
“Despite expensive national spending on security the large presence of illegal immigrants is evident, the borders are porous and unsecured.
“We have lost control over immigration into our states and have been denied our role in citizenship and national registration matters. Now even illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries are favoured over our native population who are systematically diluted, disenfranchised and marginalised,” he said.
He also enlightened the gathering that the government’s 2011 Budget totalled RM109 billion but Sabah and Sarawak was only allocated RM9.75 billion.
This, he said, meant that each of the Borneo states (Sabah and Sarawak) was allocated less than 5% of the national budget. Yet Sabah and Sarawak contributed to more than 71% of the national income.
“For these reasons, SAPP wants to reinstate the original terms of the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Thus, I urge all Sabahans to rise and teach BN/ Umno on how to respect Sabah and its people,” he added.