Why is Sabah still poor? asks Kit Siang

By Queville To | Free Malaysia Today

Batu Sumpah, Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has called for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on whether the expectations of Sabahans and Sarawakians in forming Malaysia had been fulfilled or betrayed over the past 50 years.

He stressed that this would be appropriate in view of the fact that in 2013 the country would mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia.

“Have the people of Sabah been granted their full citizenship rights as Malaysians in the past five decades?

“Let the debate and soul-searching begin as to how one of the richest states in Sabah had been reduced in five decades to become the poorest state in the federation,” he said in a statement issued here on Saturday following a visit to Keningau.

Lim who is also the MP for Ipoh Timor is currently in the state on a three-day working visit. He is accompanied by the DAP MPs for Serdang and Segambut, Teo Nie Ching and Lim Lip Eng as well as Sabah state assemblyman for Sri Tanjong Jimmy Wong.

He recalled that before Malaysia was formed in 1963, the Cobbold Commission conducted a fact-finding survey of the people of Sabah and Sarawak for their views as to whether the new nation should be established out of the federation of Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Brunei with Malaya.

“Numerous fact-finding tours were also organised at that time to send Sabah and Sarawak leaders to Malaya to see for themselves the benefits and developments Sabah and Sarawak would enjoy if they agree to the establishment of Malaysia.

“It was precisely on the dual promises of the constitutional safeguards for Sabah and Sarawak and the material and developmental rewards the two states would enjoy that the new Malaysian nation was formed in 1963,” he said.

He said that his visit to Keningau had reinforced his conviction that a RCI is vital as there are deep-seated frustrations and dissatisfactions that the two promises of constitutional safeguards and development progress for Sabah and Sarawak had not been realised.

The purpose of the RCI would be to help the government and people to ascertain and remedy the shortfalls of the constitutional safeguards for Sabah and Sarawak on the formation of Malaysia, he said.

The forgotten oath

Lim also shared his thoughts on the ‘Batu Sumpah’ at the Keningau District Office which read:


1.Ugama Bebas dalam Sabah
2.Tanah Tanah dalam Sabah di kuasai oleh Kerajaan Sabah
2.Adat istiadat anak rayat Sabah dihormatkan dan dipelihara oleh Kerajaan.

Sebalik pula rayat2 Sabah di dalam interior bersumpah taat setia kepada Kerajaan Malaysia.”

“These were the terms of the oath of loyalty of the Sabahans from the interior five decades ago in exchange for the formation of Malaysia. Have these solemn pledges laid out in the Keningau Batu Sumpah been honoured by both sides?” he asked.

He claimed that many Keningau folks were distressed that the government had not honoured the terms of the Batu Sumpah.

It is generally agreed that infrastructural development in the state is far short of expectations and the DAP leader emphasized this by relating to the distressing sight of extreme poverty when he visited Kg Tuarid Liawan about 1.5 km from Keningau.

“In Kg Batu Biah about 8km from Keningau, there are water pipes for 15 years but with no water supply. In Tambunan, we saw a road in good condition but which was dug out last year and remade. I understand the digging of a good road just to rebuild it cost some RM150,000.

“After nearly five decades, many in Sabah and Sarawak still lack the most basic infrastructure to be found in the rest of Malaysia like regular electricity supply, uninterrupted piped water and good roads and bridges – and not bridges when there is no river,” he added.

He quipped that Sabah probably leads the country as the state with the most pipes without water and most electric poles/lines without power.

He also hoped Sabah and Sarawak Barisan Nasional MPs would speak up in parliament during the current parliamentary debate to endorse his call for the setting up of the RCI.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 9:12 am

    Its quite clear why Sabah has so much problem. The issue is do Sabah want to remain so when they DON’T have to. What people don’t realise is that in the last decade or so Sabah is where a lot of new discoveries of deep sea oil and gas which has just begun to be exploited. If Sabah don’t throw out BN, all that wealth will be stolen by UMNO/BN cronies. If Putrajaya get changed, not only will corruption stop, Sabah will get a bigger share of the wealth. Sabah can make a leapfrog in development – but it must kick out UMNO/BN

  2. #2 by Godfather on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 10:41 am

    Sabah has abundant gas….but the federal government hijacked the gas, and piped it all the way to Bintulu so that they can liquefy it as LNG and sell to Taiwan, Korea and Japan. If the gas is used for Sabah’s development, I have no doubt that Sabah will be one of the most advanced states in Bolehland.

    The problem with Sabah is greed and exploitation. If 95 pct of the population is naive and ignorant, it is very easy to satisfy the remaining 5 pct with goodies and promises. The remaining 5 pct will end up being partners with federal interests in logging, oil palm cultivation, and human trafficking.

  3. #3 by johnnypok on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 11:00 am

    1. Sabah is a “fixed-deposit”
    2. All the leaders are very rich
    3. Sabahans still suffering from “hang-over”

  4. #4 by steven chan on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 11:40 am

    Its time that the ppl of Sabah and Sarawak get out of their cocoon and exercise their rights .The rich only have the ” u scratch my back and i scratch yours ” mentality and the leaders are BN cronies .The two states are rich in resources but the ppl are living in the age of the dinosaur. Its high time they wake up and make changes for their future generations.

  5. #5 by yhsiew on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 11:41 am

    As Indonesia’s late Suharto rightly put it: After Britain, the next colonial master of Sabah would come from KL.

  6. #6 by SGPR on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 12:59 pm

    GE13 – Together we save Sabah and Sarawak…

  7. #7 by frankyapp on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 1:04 pm

    Sabah is still poor because of hundred and one reasons. Among the causes are politicians from Unso right up to now Umno/Bn have stolen,robbed and siphoned off the state’s wealth. In addition,the million plus illegal immigrants,the IMM13 holders and the debious Mycard holders have sucked deep into our resources and illegally transferred most of them to their countries.These illegal also destroyed most of our under water coral reef.poisoned our fishes,vandalised our public facilities and dirtied our whole green enviroment by setting up huge sqautters colonies where ever they liked.Anywhere they squat they steal our water,our electricity,the local neighbours’s fruits and vegetables and broke in the houses and stole whatever they find is useful to them. The list goes on but the strange thing is why our politicians from Umno/BN just keep their eyes closed ?

  8. #8 by ekompute on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 1:55 pm

    Why is Sabah still poor?

    Short and simple, yet hitting the nail on its head and putting UMNO on the defensive. Maybe UMNO has already given up on Sabah in the next GE and is now focusing its hopes on Sarawak, LOL.

  9. #9 by ekompute on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 2:03 pm

    yhsiew :
    As Indonesia’s late Suharto rightly put it: After Britain, the next colonial master of Sabah would come from KL.

    But KL is anytime better than Jakarta, I would say… what had Suharto achieved in his 32-year reign, if not massive corruption, massive cronyism, and massive poverty for his people? That’s what you get if you get a monkey running the country… if LKY had been President, I believe Indonesia would have become a world economic superpower long ago…

  10. #10 by Comrade on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 2:10 pm

    Unscrupulous BN leaders & its agencies do not deserve due deference
    From the facts,one can make the inference
    That come GE13 PR is the obvious preference
    East Malaysians must vote in PR to see the difference

  11. #11 by k1980 on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 2:19 pm

    //But KL is anytime better than Jakarta//

    what if Sabah had joined Singapore in 1965? Sabahans would now be like Singaporeans, with the largest per capita GDP in South East Asia

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 2:38 pm

    Sabah is like a cash cow with a humongous udder with multiple tits 4 UmnoB/BN 2 milk n squeeze dry at their pleasure – mooooooo, syiok

  13. #13 by dagen on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 4:18 pm

    Sabah where got poor? Rich what. See sabah got so many things. Take take take orso cannot finis. See sabah so rich. Got so many for people to take one.

  14. #14 by chengho on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 8:14 pm

    If you are in Singapore u will apreaciate high handed and authoratic leadership of LKY what make Singapore today . You think Dap will survive under LKY ?

  15. #15 by lopez on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 9:30 pm

    look sabah people who are innocent of their dire state…..dont blame it on the innocent peninsula fellas who were equally marginalised during running of preferred development plans on W M side of the bolihland.

    only difference is that the W M side people got sidelined first before the clowns went over to rob you people in the very daylight.
    so if you people think you can out do these clowns please show how.

  16. #16 by Winston on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 10:12 pm

    Uncle Lim must wake up the East Malaysians to the exploitation by the Federal government.
    Also, let them know what the PR can do for them; this will give them an alternative to UMNO/BN.

  17. #17 by tanjong8 on Monday, 22 March 2010 - 10:43 pm

    Eunuch was Chengho in ancient China.

    If you have eunuchs around, trouble and problems abound.

    Throw out UmnoUtusans from Sabah into the South China Sea.

  18. #18 by baxsie88 on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 - 5:06 pm

    Together to SAVE Sarawak in next State election (coming soon!). To throw BN/keluarga TAHI keluar dari ADUN Sarawak. Give chance to PR (i mean good intigrity wakil rakyat, bukan utk wakil yg kepala katak) to rule Sarawak for a better future to our next generation!!

  19. #19 by DCLXVI on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 - 8:01 pm

    chengho: “If you are in Singapore u will apreaciate high handed and authoratic leadership of LKY what make Singapore today.”

    So, are Malaysians now expected to appreciate the high-handed and autocratic leadership of Umno-BN which made Malaysia what it is today???

    chengho: “You think Dap will survive under LKY ?”

    Well, LGE did survive a visit by LKY at his CM office in KOMTAR, Penang…

  20. #20 by king cobra on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 - 10:57 pm

    He also hoped Sabah and Sarawak Barisan Nasional MPs would speak up in parliament during the current parliamentary debate to endorse his call for the setting up of the RCI.

    I really doubt they will speak up , every single filthy fellow are already well fed , if they speak dun noe wat their masters will do to them , their master may be have a hold (??)against them , tats y i think most will keep quiet

  21. #21 by johnnypok on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 - 9:19 am

    After suffering from poverty and watching how other states in peninsula prosper, Sabahans should be bold enough to say “Enough” and look forward to kicking BN/UMNO out withone kick, come GE13

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