Motion of thanks Speech by Dr. Hiew King Cheu on the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong opening remarks of the 4th session of the 12th Parliament sitting on Monday, 7th March 2011:
Motion of thanks Speech on the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong opening remarks of the 4th session of the 12th Parliament sitting
We, in Sabah are facing many problems in many ways. It is true that we are being side-lined, neglected, and sometimes totally being forgotten by the Federal government. These problems have created and brought Sabah to be well known as the "Poorest State in Malaysia". This is clearly shown by the high rate of poverty, very low annual income per capital, the slow industry development, outflow of local workers to seek job outside Sabah, severe brain-drain, no foreign investments, and slow economic growth.
In spite of the rich natural resources of Oil and Gas, with the percentage of only 5% sharing, Sabah did not go very far. We in Sabah since the beginning of the Petronas Agreement, we actually had only collected a very small sum of RM5.3 billion on the 5% for the past 33 years, while the rest of the money from our oil field went to the Federal coffer. Why the Petronas Agreement is still not being reviewed to allow the Sabahan have a larger share of our own natural resources. Giving us a 10% percent sharing, it will help thousands of Sabahan with jobs opportunity, bringing many out of poverty, higher standard of living and brighter future.
The illegal immigrant problem in Sabah is a situation which has developed into a "love and hate" dilemma. On one hand, we don't want them to come into our country to create trouble for us, sending our money away, robbing our people, rapping our girls, stealing from us, creating social ills, drugs and crimes every way, but we cannot condemn all these people. We in Sabah have developed a habit in using these PTI to help with our work in all aspects, and even in our own homes. Just imagine what your wife will say and do to you if the Indonesian maid is gone. Our huge plantations depend heavily on these labor forces which are in the number of near 700,000 strong, some legal and some illegal. What if all these workers left or being caught and deported? I strongly urge the government and it is high time to set up a Royal Commission to deal with the PTI issue and to find a solution to solve the long outstanding pain faced by the Sabahan. The issuance of MYcard to many foreigners and make them to become citizens is not something new in Sabah, and many of these people "the new Bumiputras" have become voters too. Many cases had been exposed and many books had been written on it. What is the stand on this by the government?
In Sabah, we are actually facing an acute situation in our food production and security. We heard so much on the Federal government emphasizing on the food production especially in the Jelepang Padi project in Kota Belud and Kota Marudu. Up to date, we have not seen much development and improvement and the production of rice had not increase much. We are still depending heavily on the import of rice. What happen if the food import is stopped for some reason, are we going to starve? There is totally no security to our food supply in Sabah, and this called for some real consideration and effort on the part of the Federal and state government. Please treat this as urgent and it is a matter that is the major concern of the Sabahan.
Amongst others are still the bad infrastructure in Sabah and it is a well known bad situation. We still have many road projects under RMK8 and 9 that have not started and still pending allocation of fund to get them going. There are flooding all over Sabah which seem never possible to solve, and beside the regular Beaufort severe floods, now we see Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kota Marudu, Kota Kinabalu flooded under deep water, many property lost and even precious lives lost. Is the government going to help us out of the deep water or they think this is normal and the Sabahan can come out of it without problems.
On the part of Industry development, the government is seen to be not putting in enough effort to encourage foreign investors to come to invest in our many profitable and high potential industries associated with our palm oil, timber, oil and gas and many other natural resources. The government must help to invite foreign investors to come to Sabah by way of giving incentives, special privileges, tax exemption and free land if necessary. The most important is to get our power and water supply in proper order and sufficient to support the industries. Until today we still have frequent power supply break down and short of water in the many cities in Sabah. The "Cabotage" policy is a big obstacle to the industrial development and this is not only deterring and stopping foreign industrial investors from coming to Sabah but affects our consumer good prices too. It is high time that we must reconsider the policy and go for a more viable solution.
I support the statement made by Tan Sri Simon Sipau over the situation of Sabah during the old days and now, indeed he had bravely made the statement from the bottom of his heart and this is something that we Sabahan shared deeply in our heart. We are at least 15 years behind when compared to Semananjong. Our kampong is still a poor kampong after 48 years of Malaysia, no change at all, and while some kampong in Semananjong is already turned into major towns and even into industrial and tourist centre. We are lack of everything and needed much more share of the development fund to do with the catching up.
I hope our Federal leaders can sit down and think deeply whether you are going to give Sabah a helping hand and to honor the Malaysia Agreement or not, and just to remind you the next general election is just around the corner, the Sabah people will make their decision.
* Dr Hiew King Cheu, MP for Kota Kinabalu