Mystery of Sabah’s eight poorest districts – Jason Santos

Baffling to think how Malaysia’s most needy could still vote for leaders who fail to solve their plight

(The Vibes) – A POLITICAL friend of mine once came to me with a joke.

He threw me this question: “What do Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee, Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri, Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup and Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin have in common?”

The answer came as a nerve-hitting punchline. “While they are all Sabah-based MPs from ruling parties,” he said, “they represent the poorest of the poor districts in Malaysia”.

It may not be a funny joke, but it certainly provides much food for thought.

Of the 10 poorest districts in Malaysia identified under the 12th Malaysia Plan, eight are in Sabah – and their elected representatives are prominent politicians.

The first, Kota Marudu, is a parliamentary constituency held by Parti Bersatu Sabah president Ongkili.

Beluran and Telupid, parliamentary and state seats respectively, are held by Bersatu vice-president Kiandee.

His party colleague Rahim is the MP for Kudat and state assemblyman for Pitas. Both these constituencies are on the poor list.

Meanwhile, the Nabawan state seat is occupied by Arthur who is from Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS).

The other poor district of Tongod is interesting. It is within the federal constituency of Kinabatangan whose MP is Bung Moktar, the chairman of Sabah Umno and also Sabah Barisan Nasional.

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