Some lies for BN to answer

Daniel John Jambun, Deputy Chairman, STAR Sabah
The Barisan Nasional has said many times that they will “answer the opposition’s lies” (menjawab tohmahan-tohmahan pembangkang) and recently we are told that Sabah BN will have its own body to work on these answers. As a member of the opposition I am naturally challenged about such so-called lies and I am very interested to hear what BN has to say about a few ‘lies’ that we have been repeating over the years. I would therefore like to volunteer my services to this body (to answer our lies) by providing a list of such lies.
I of course expect this body to answer all these lies as clearly and as convincingly as they can as soon as possible:
1.  There are many cases of non-compliance with the 1963 Malaysia Agreement. A close examination of the Malaysia Agreement would show that there are several very important cases of non-compliance to what are promised in the agreement.
One of this is that we were promised that Sabah would be an independent nation, one of four (Singapore, Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah), not a unitary state. Hence we were supposed to be autonomous in our governance and not come under the governance of Kuala Lumpur. One of the reasons why Singapore was unhappy with being in Malaysia was that it realized it couldn’t have its own Prime Minister;
2.  There are hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Sabah due to some backhanded work by some manipulators in government, and this manipulation is still going on. We want a royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the issue to its roots, but the Federal Government seems worried about carrying out an RCI.
3.  There are many stateless people in Sabah and Sarawak after the creation of Malaysia. The National Registration Department cannot even do its work properly that many people are denied the security of having proper documents. Mistakes are made in the registration process, putting people in a fix for years because they are given the wrong religion in their ICs.

4.  Federal Government is not being shared in equal partnership between Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. The number of Members of Parliament and the number of the Members of the Federal Cabinet are heavily in favour of Peninsular Malaysia;
5.  Borneonisation was never implemented as promised in the 20 Point Agreement. It was more a case of Malayanization, with people from the Peninsular taking up government posts in Sabah and this is still going on.
6.  There is little freedom of the press in Malaysia with the ruling parties getting access to mainstream newspapers and TV, and none for the opposition parties who then have to rely on ground movement and the alternative media.
7.  The Federal Government is taking almost all the revenues from Sabah and Sarawak and giving a pittance in return, whereas we were promised by the 20 Points the freedom to collect our own taxes and use those taxes at our own discretion. The Federal, if collecting up to RM35 per year in revenues from Sabah (including the earnings by Petronas) but for development under the 10th Malaysia Plan we got only RM9 billion and that is for Sabah and Sarawak.

8.  Around 50 percent of Federal allocations for Sabah and Sarawak are either not received or delayed, often carried forward to the next National Budget or the next Malaysia Plan. Of funds received, the implementation rate is only about 60 per cent and with habitual delays.

9.  There are very few university graduates are from Sabah and Sarawak as compared to those from the Peninsular, and entrances to government-linked universities and college universities are heavily in favour of the West Malaysians Malays;

10.  The public healthcare system in Sabah and Sarawak in an appalling state. Just go to any district hospital and see how you have to wait half a day to get treated. In most of the Interiors clinics are faraway dreams and the people still have to travel through rivers and jungle tracks to get to a doctor.
11.  There is still no piped water in many areas, including those near the towns, even after half a century of Malaysia.
12.   Security in the state’s borders is still poor with illegal immigrants still getting easy entry into Sabah;

13.  Too many villages in Sabah still cannot be accessed by roads. In Kiulu 60 villages can only be accessed by walking or by river transport. Because of this, too many school children in Sabah and Sarawak still have to walk barefoot for miles on hungry stomachs through jungles to go to schools which in many cases are in such poor and decrepit states that they are look like nothing more than animal sheds.

14.  There is a longstanding discrimination against Sabahans and Sarawakians in the areas of recruitments into the teaching service and the security forces, and employment in these areas are heavily in favour of Peninsular Malays.

15.  The great and depressing mystery behind the Double Six Tragedy of the 1976 air crash in Sembulan which took the lives of so many of Sabah  senior leaders is still  unresolved. A book which tries to unravel the story, Golden Son of Kadazan, is still banned by the Federal Government.

16.  Among the biggest source of our dissatisfaction is in how our natural resources are being taken from us. Imagine if the oil royalty for Sabah and Sarawak is reviewed to 70 percent backdated to 1976 and with 8 per cent interest for arrears compounded yearly! The amount would be so much it would take care of all of Sabah’s development needs for decades to come. This kind of oil royalty rate is nothing fantastic because it is already practiced by other countries such as Timor Leste, South Sudan, Darfur, Acheh, and under the nationalist movement in Scotland.

17.  Loss of the huge oil-rich areas called Blocks L and M to Brunei happened under mysterious circumstances, and without any approval from the State or
Federal Cabinet.

18.  If only we had freedom to manage our own resources we would now be richer than Brunei and Singapore.

10.  Poverty and abject poverty are still rampant in Sabah and Sarawak with people living in decrepit houses and children malnourished. Often houses in villages hardly have any money in them.

11.  Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees special position for the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, and the New Economic Policy are not being applied in Sabah and Sarawak;

12.  The Sabah Chief Minister is chosen by Putrajaya, denying Sabahans its democratic right to choose its CEO. Meanwhile, KL’s invisible hands are interfering in many political and administrative matters in Sabah to favour the Peninsular.

13.  There has been blatant gerrymandering of the electoral boundaries to favour Umno who wants to maximise its advantages with the immigrants who had been legalised through the back door, at the expense of disenfranchised bona fide  Sabahans;

14.  Umno and pro-Umno Malay supremacist NGOs like Perkasa are causing even more disunity among the people of Sabah and Sarawak by fanning racial and religious issues and therefore worsening the problem of racial and religious polarisation. And the BN is not lifting a finger to shut up extremists like Ibrahim Ali;

15.  The presence of Peninsular political parties in the Sabah, Sarawak State Legislative Assemblies, or with these parties representing the two states in Parliament, is contrary to the originally intended political autonomies of the two states.

16.  Based on the comparison of the sizes of Sabah, Sarawak and the Peninsular (Sarawak alone is bigger than the Peninsular), the Peninsular should have less than two thirds of the seats in Parliament;

17.  The cruel, repressive and obsolete National Cabotage Policy has long been functioning to increase prices of commodities in Sabah and Sarawak to a lot more than those in the Peninsular Malaysia, while local wages are comparatively much lower and employment opportunities are significantly less than they are in the Peninsular. While the policy is causing inflation and other economic pressures for  Sabah and Sarawak it has also been seriously impeding industrialisation of the two states because foreign companies avoid setting up operations here due to the higher operation costs compared to those in the Peninsular. The Federal Government doesn’t believe in giving equal economic opportunities for the Borneo states. Is the Cabotage Policy so difficult to dismantle because certain political leaders and business cronies are reaping countless millions from the policy?

18.  Air connectivity and internet penetration in Sabah and Sarawak are still very poor, even after a lot of appeals and arguments by local BN leaders and after years of promises by Federal ministers.

19.  The infrastructures in Sabah and Sarawak are still very poor compared with those in Singapore, Brunei and Peninsular Malaysia. After half a century, Sabah and Sarawak is still begging for development of basic infrastructures like roads.

20.  The RMR should be removed from Sabah and Sarawak because they are an occupying force and not meant for protection or security;

21.  The influx of illegal immigrants has resulted in the explosive population growth of Sabah, and is depressing local wages, increasing crime rates, padding electoral rolls, disenfranchising Natives and other Sabahans, resulting in the loss of Native land and depriving local Muslims in particular of opportunities under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and the New Economic Policy;

22.  Sabah is experiencing countless cases of Peninsular Malaysian companies grabbing Native Customary Rights lands and the government is not consistent in handling them, and in many cases appear to be siding the companies.

These are only 22 ‘lies’ which the opposition parties have been repeating over the years in order to educate the public about what is going on in Sabah. There are a lot more ‘lies’ which, if we were to collect and elaborate on them, would fill up a thick book. What is interesting is that the government never seems to be unable to answer all these ‘lies’ at the time they are mentioned or raised by the opposition in the media. The government’s usual response is to avoid the issue or to pretend they haven’t heard them, because how on earth do you argue with the truth? So in order to give it a certain appearance and dignity of being right, the government keeps repeating that it “will answer the opposition lies” but without mentioning which lies they are talking about. And then they never ever give those answers they promise! After sometime some leaders will again say the BN will answer the opposition’s lies, but when?
Another approach they use is to try to belittle or demonise the opposition by saying the opposition leaders are liars who gloat about empty things, can only make empty promises. It is a very easy way to avoid answering the real issues.