Archive for January 21st, 2008

Zero poverty in Sabah – “Sabah Baru”, “Sabah Development Corridor” and Pak Lah’s high-powered committee

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced yesterday that a high-powered Cabinet sub-committee will be set up to carry out the government’s efforts to eradicate hardcore poverty among all races by 2010.

When Abdullah comes to Sabah next Tuesday (January 29) to launch the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), he should explain to Sabahans what this high-powered committee means to Sabah.

This is because 14 years ago, in its manifesto to capture Sabah state power from PBS, the Barisan Nasional pledged to create a “New Sabah” and promised, among other things, to reduce the poverty level in Sabah from 33 per cent in 1994 to zero in the year 2000.

However, this promise of zero poverty in Sabah by the year 2,000 was never fulfilled. According to the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the incidence of poverty in Sabah in 2004 was the highest of all states in Malaysia at 23 per cent, nowhere near zero incidence and higher than Terengganu (15.4%) and Kelantan (10.6%).

Sabah had also the worst incidence of hard-core poverty in 2004 at 6.5% as compared the next three states with high incidence, i.e. Terengganu 4.4% and Kedah and Kelantan 1.3%.

Now, eight years after its failure to honour its pledge to reduce poverty in Sabah to zero in 2000, the Prime Minister is talking about eradicating hard core poverty by 2010. Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah should emulate Tunku and take 2 months leave as PM in his nation-wide tour as BN Chairman

When he became Prime Minister more than four years ago, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi pledged that integrity and good governance would be the hallmarks of his premiership and towards this end he also launched the National Integrity Plan.

This is the time for Abdullah to set an example of integrity and good governance and I call on him to emulate Bapa Malaysia and the first Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman by taking leave as Prime Minister for two months for him to go on a nationwide tour as Chairman of Barisan Nasional to prepare the 14-party coalition for the 12th general election.

The mainstream media have reported that after his return from Spain, Abdullah “kicked off his second nationwide tour in what many coalition members believe is the prelude to a soon to be called general election”. (New Sunday Times 20.1.08)

Abdullah should set an example of understanding and respecting the important distinction between government and party, as it is the abject failure of Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders to appreciate and uphold this important distinction which is the root cause of the rampant corruption, abuses of power and rank lawlessness in the country.

As Prime Minister, Abdullah has no business to conduct any nation-wide tour to galvanise the 14-party Barisan Nasional to prepare for the next general election expected within 50 days. When he goes around the country to rally and mobilize Umno and the other Barisan Nasional component parties to shape up for the 12th general election, he is acting in his capacity as Chairman of Barisan Nasional which is completely different and separate from the office of Prime Minister. Read the rest of this entry »


Pak Lah’s announcement of Thaipusam as public holiday – Thousand pities

Thousand pities that Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s announcement yesterday of Thaipusam as a public holiday is seen as highly opportunistic and self-serving to salvage Samy Vellu’s political life and Barisan Nasional’s political fortunes in the coming polls than the start of a serious and genuine national commitment to end the long-standing marginalization of Malaysian Indians as the new underclass in the country.

Although the Prime Minister had said at his Ponggol speech in Bukit Bintang on Saturday that he would consider the call to make Thaipusam a public holiday, it was clear that he had decided to use the “Thaipusam a public holiday” as a gambit to restore the political stocks of Samy Vellu and the Barisan Nasional among the two million Malaysian Indians, which was why there was the front-page story in the Star on Friday “PM to hold BN council meeting on polls” which reported: “On Sunday, Abdullah will meet 20,000 MIC members and supporters at the Cheras Badminton Stadium where he is expected to make a major announcement.” Read the rest of this entry »