If PM is sorry why not correct ongoing mistakes?


One of the few statements that caused many people to flip over in surprise recently was the Prime Minister’s apology for BN’s mistakes which had caused many to reject BN in the 2008 general election. The number of comments in the electronic media is countless, and all negative, angry and cynical abut the apology, with some calling it “pompous arrogance.”

There have been many issues raised by commentators at the national level, but my concern is for the Sabahans. Najib had not specified what mistakes BN had committed but if he had bothered to make a list it would be a very long one indeed! As such I would only limit myself to the mistakes done in Sabah. Here is my list of things in Sabah which Najib has to be sorry about. This is a list of reasons why Sabahans feel they are being colonized and suppressed by Malaya:

1.      The public service, the educational institutions and the security forces in Sabah are swarmed with people from the Peninsular, while Sabahans find it very difficult just trying to be a teacher, a soldier or a police constable;
2.      The Cabotage Policy is still driving up inflation in Sabah with commodity prices having gone up by 200 to 300 percent during the last few years. I believe the policy is being perpetuated because Umno cronies are making millions out of the system;
3.      Security in Sabah is still lax. Contraband cigarettes and are found everywhere in all towns of Sabah and the authorities are turning a blind eye on the illegal trade;
4.      Felda and Felcra have taken huge swaths of lands in Sabah without going through the State Cabinet. And the plantations bring no financial benefits for Sabah;
5.      We were never asked for our views before Labuan was given free to the Federal Territory;
6.      Block L and M was stolen from us and we got to know about it only after Tun Mahathir exposed the theft;
7.      Umno came to Sabah and took over the government unconstitutionally in 1994, with the then PM flagrantly violating the State and Federal Constitutions by offering Datuk Dr. Jeffrey the post of chief Minister although he was not the chief of the winning party, PBS;
8.      Since the illegal takeover the people of Sabah had never had the freedom to choose their own Chief Minister;
9.      After 48 years of Merdeka, we still have 40,000 native Sabahans without birth certificates and yet hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants easily became the new Bumiputeras after being given MyKads overnight through the infamous “Projek IC”;
10.    The Double Six Tragedy was never investigated. Why? And the book that tried to answer the mysteries over the tragedy, The Golden Son of Kadazan, is still banned;
11.    The Federal Government has been sucking Sabah dry of its blood with all its taxes being taken to Kuala Lumpur by the tens of billions for year, and we get only crumbs in return for so-called development. And this despite the 20 Points’ guarantee that we would be given the free had to collect and use our own tax revenues:
12.    Tun Fuad Stephens was ‘ice-boxed’ to Australia after he demanded for a review of the Malaysia Agreement after Singapore was expelled from Malaysia;
13.    Sabah is supposed to be still holding its power of immigration, but how come all the fees collected from immigration processing (passports, visit passes, etc) are taken to Kuala Lumpur?
14.    The National Unity Department has failed miserably to unite Malaysians. Many Peninsular people still believe Malaya is Malaysia. Even RTM makers announcements saying, “Nationwide, including Sabah and Sarawak.”
15.    Religious extremism has increased in Malaysia, and this disease has spread to Sabah. This has caused racial and religious polarization, so all the hundreds of millions spent on national integration programs have been wasted down the drain. And the worst of it is, the PM doesn’t even respond when fanatical organizations like Perkasa makes all sorts of statements to promote hatred against non-Malays and non-Muslims.
The list can go on. But I wish also to ask Najib one very important question: If you are sorry for what happened in the past how come you are not also sorry for, and stop, all those wrong things which are going on in Sabah NOW?
By ignoring the ongoing injustices, incompetence and mismanagement, you are proving that you are not sincere in your apology. You don’t know what past BN mistakes you are sorry about, and you pretend not to see many mistakes which are going on right now because you are not interested in correcting them. Your apology has come to nothing because we know Sabahans will continue to suffer under the BN. We believe if BN comes back to power after GE13, Sabah will sink even deeper into trouble because of injustices by BN. I agree with Sakmongkol AK47 that the BN government is a form of “mutation democracy” – a democracy that has mutated into an oligarchy, a government of political and business elites. If you are part of these elite groups you become extremely wealthy, but if you are not, you suffer.

STAR Sabah Deputy chairman, and Advisor for UK-Based Human Rights Foundation Malaysia