“The Sabah and Sarawak State Governments should get the Federal Government to immediately scrap the Cabotage Policy” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, the STAR Sabah Chief in response to the calls by Sabah BN components for the federal government to suspend or review the cabotage policy.
It defies logic that the BN components can only voice their frustrations in the media on the cabotage policy. If being part of the BN federal government and the BN parties in Sabah and Sarawak are powerless to secure the scrapping of the cabotage policy, there is no further reason for them to remain in the Barisan Nasional.
In Sabah, the unfair and unjust cabotage policy has ruined the economy and caused untold and unquantifiable damage and loss to the people.
The end result is loss of competitiveness with massive loss of investments, loss of job opportunities and resulting loss of human capital development and burdensome higher costs for the ordinary people who are already poorer than their Peninsular counterparts.
Even the state-wide Federation of Sabah Manufacturers (FSM) has for years called for the abolishment of the cabotage policy yet the Chief Minister and the state government have failed to take any concrete steps to get the federal government to scrap it.
“You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you see that the BN local components are starting to voice their opinions on the cabotage when it is a long known fact even to the ordinary people in the street that it should be abolished” added Dr. Jeffrey.
Perhaps, it may be due to the general elections being around the corner that these politicians are sweet-talking to garner votes for themselves lest they will be out of jobs after the elections.
In UBF and at STAR, Agenda No. 4 of the Borneo Agenda seeks the abolishment of the cabotage policy and other unfair and lop-sided policies which hinder the development and growth of the Borneo States.
Ironically, the Chief Minister and his Deputies have accused the opposition of telling lies and making unfulfillable promises.
If Borneo Agenda No. 4 is a lie and cannot be fulfilled and is of no good to the people in Sabah, why are the BN components, the FSM and others calling for the scrapping of the cabotage policy?
Obviously, the Sabah BN is now left with red faces over the recent developments and repeated calls for the cabotage policy to be scrapped.
Several days ago the Chief Minister has asked his Umno leaders to go more often on the ground.
We would like to advise the Chief Minister to tell his Umno leaders when they go on the ground, to remember to tell the people to support Borneo Agenda No. 4 particularly so that the Umno leaders can report back to the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister and his Cabinet can then formally request the federal government to scrap the cabotage policy since it is what Sabahans want but which, unfortunately, the Chief Minister and his Cabinet have done nothing since they still do not know.
The unfair cabotage policy highlights the dilemma of the general adoption of a single “one policy fits all” mentality of the federal government. All policies should be reviewed and if required, to be modified or adapted, to suit the circumstances in Sabah and Sarawak.
This is why the “1-Country 2-System” administration should be adopted in the administration of the Borneo States.
STAR Sabah will propose the adoption of the “1-Country 2-System” administration in Sabah.
If the present Sabah BN government truly cares for the welfare of the people in Sabah, they should immediately adopt the “1-Country 2-System” administration starting with the scrapping of the cabotage policy.
On the same footing, the Sabah BN MPs should immediately table a motion in Parliament to pass the necessary amendments to the shipping laws to scrap the cabotage policy. There is no reason for the other Peninsular BN and non-BN MPs not to support such a motion.
If the state government leaders and the Sabah MPs are unable to do both, it can only mean that they are just like the State Speaker in “no action talk only” mode due to the forthcoming elections and to lap up to their masters to curry favour for themselves.