Let’s see where the RM4 billion goes

By Luke Rintod, FMT

KENINGAU: While Chief Minister Musa Aman’s RM4 billion Sabah budget for 2012 may be getting rave reviews from ‘certain’ quarters, United Borneo Front however can only see the huge chasm between ‘what is planned and what is delivered’ by the ruling Umno-led Barisan Nasional government.

A senior leader with UBF Dr Nicholas James Guntobon views the RM4 billion state budget for 2012 as ‘window dressing’ and tired replay of Musa’s past promises and pledges.

In playing down the grand talk that the state budget received when it was unveiled by Musa last Friday, Guntobon, who is UBF coordinator for Liawan, Keningau, said yesterday that a thorough examination of Sabah’s past budgets showed that the “ruling BN has no policy on economic development”.

“Performance-wise, the economy boom in Sabah is actually driven by the high price of commodity, nothing to do with the efficiency and leadership of the current CM.

“The high rating by RAM, the auditor-general and the ISO certificate are all not conclusive evidence of excellent performance whatsoever.

“Rating agencies are known for their unreliability,” he said alluding to the 3-star RAM rating of Sabah’s economic perfromance.

He reminded that even US-based rating agency Moody gave global financial services firm, Lehman Brothers, top marks but it was declared bankrupt in 2008.

“RAM, unlike Moody is locally-based, run and perhaps even financed through domestic consultancy contracts and if we dare go deeper possibly we will find out that its pay is derived from taxpayers money by cronies and relatives of those in power.”

Guntobon credits the 4% economic growth in Sabah to government spending through federal stimulus packages as well as the high commodity prices.

Why no foreign investments?

Musa, who is also Sabah Finance Minister, presented the state biggest ever budget with a promise to eradicate poverty, cut unemployment and further develop the state.

But according to Guntobon, Musa has been saying the same thing since winning the last elections and in presenting past budgets about how he is going to redistribute wealth from booming economy to all Sabahans.

“Sabah now is still the third poorest economically, the Umno cronies are getting richer and the number of poor people in Sabah remains the highest.

“They get poorer because prices of basic goods have increased with the fuel price hike. We can list out a long list of BN’s and this chief minister’s failures if necessary.

“The ruling BN has no policy on economic development and this speaks volumes why there is not much foreign direct investment,” he said.