KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan leader Datuk Darell Leiking should stop the blame game and instead admit that it is the Warisan led government’s weak policies and lack of direction that led to Sabah’s worst ever economic performance ever since they took over the state’s administration.
The drastic decline in GDP growth for Sabah to 1.5 % in 2018 was not only due to the decline in commodity prices. It was also significant that there were drastic policy changes which have damaged business confidence. The Warisan-led state government had arbitrarily clamped down on businesses while the Pakatan Harapan federal government had frozen the implementation of new development projects.
They were also sending the wrong signal to investors by tampering with legal agreements and ongoing businesses which have exposed the Sabah Government to billions ringgit worth of damages. By the end of 2018, there was no question that businesses indeed had suffered especially the SMEs. There were many retail outlets closing down, unemployment increasing.
Today’s news reports “Sabah Manufacturers expect gloomy outlook” is proof of the dire straits that Sabah businesses are facing. Federation of Malaysia Manufacturers (FMM) Sabah reported a drastic drop of 25% to 50% in revenues.
This is non-political factual reports by business community which Darell would be wise to take note of.
The Warisan-led State Government and the Pakatan Harapan then could have mitigated by the problems through the 2019 National and State Budgets, but have failed to do so. The lame excuses had always been, the government has no money, which we all know by now that it was simply not true. Sabah State Treasury showed that there was a reserve of RM4 billion in 2018. Where has these RM4 billions gone to?
The Department of Statistics in its 2018 report had highlighted that the high economic growth achieved by Sabah in 2017 at 8.2 %.
Statistics showed that poverty reduced significantly from 19.7 % in 2009 to 2.9 % in 2016. These are facts available to the public.
Indeed by 2017 Sabah had the highest economic growth in Malaysia, surpassing even the national average, which was at 5.9 %, thereby succeeded in reducing regional disparities. Leiking however stated that after only 26 months in power, the Warisan-led government’s achievements were higher investments in the manufacturing sector, booming tourism, increased palm oil export and a more active construction sector.
All his Warisan has done was earned the dubious title “Announcements Government” with nothing to show. Shafie had often boasted of his long tenure as federal minister in different ministries. What has he done for Sabah during the period?
Even Semporna, his constituency, is labelled “Biggest shithole in Malaysia” by the international social media.
Federal-State co-operation vital
It is obvious that the key success factor in addressing the development gap in Sabah is the establishment of very close co-operation between the state and federal government at all levels, from the top political leadership, down to head of ministries, departments and government agencies and statutory bodies. With Shafie dreaming to become the PM9, he has put Sabah at a very disadvantageous and risky position to be hostile to the Federal Government.
Will the Sabah Government continue to function effectively under the current scenario when the Sabah State Government is at loggerhead with the Federal Government? The answer is an obvious disaster for Sabah.-
Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Ex-CM, SAPP President
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