‘No-question’ leaders rule Sabah politics

By David Thien, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is a place where the local politicians would go to any length to pamper visiting federal government dignitaries with pomp and pageantry.

They don’t ask too many hard questions because they want to show that all is well on the eastern (Sabah) front.

Their agenda is to push for their personal career prospects within the Barisan Nasional (BN).

But people here are more concerned about bread-and-butter issues like the rising costs of living, spiralling prices of  goods and services and  issues like trading licence fee and parking rates.

“Before Kota Kinabalu became a city, the forms to apply for a trading licence was free. Now it’s RM1.

“And that’s not the end… the process of finally getting the licence if it is approved may involve more unofficial costs.

“In City Hall everything costs money,” said a mobile trader.

Sabah boasts the highest cost of living in Malaysia. It is also the poorest state in the nation despite being resource-rich.

The Chinese New Year festival has not stabilised prices despite government assurance.

Prices for festive goods have shot up drastically in line with fuel and transport rate hikes.

Again, the cabotage policy is being blamed for high shipping costs that are being passed down to consumers.

The continuous calls to the federal government to review the policy has fallen on deaf ears.

Unjust summons

Then there is also the summons issue: thousands of parking summons have been issued by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall’s enforcement officers.

“Why are they issuing parking summons when the city is facing a drastic lack of parking space? There’s just no place to park here,” one motorist said.

Many wanted the Kota Kinabalu City Hall to offer at least 50% rebate on parking summons like the police.

“Even the traffic police offer 50% discount… Why can’t City Hall do the same?” asked James Fong, an accountant.

Traders and shopkeepers here are angry at the mayor and PBS assemblyman Yee Moh Chai over this “ridiculous hike in parking rates”.

The said that despite all the complaints, Yee has done nothing.