Sabahans need to wake up to the realities of the position and treatment of Sabah in Malaysia and seize every opportunity to assert and seek the restoration of Sabah’s rights particularly the oil resources where RM18 billion has been siphoned off to Malaya leaving a paltry RM941 million for Sabahans, if Sabah is to progress and develop into a modern nation-state, like Brunei and Singapore, not with just piped water and flush toilets.
By Dr Jeffrey G Kitingan
“It is tragic and almost sinful that despite 50 long years in Malaysia, piped water and flush toilets have failed to reach suburban and rural Sabah. It proves the failed promises since 1961 of development and progress to be given to Sabahans when persuading Sabah to form Malaysia” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief when commenting on the untold story presented by Tan Sri Ghani Gilong at the recent forum “The Formation of Malaysia – The Untold Story”.
Tan Sri Ghani had reminisced his first trip to Kuala Lumpur in 1961 and encountering pipe water and flush toilets for the first time and then returning home to enthusiastically canvass support for Sabahans to agree to form Malaysia so as to achieve the levels of progress and development that was evident in Kuala Lumpur and promised by the then Malayan leaders in Kuala Lumpur.
Statistics may vary, but more than half of the population of Keningau do not enjoy the basic necessity of pipe water let alone flush toilets.
“I am quite sure that in Tan Sri Ghani’s home turf in Ranau, the majority of Ranauians do not enjoy pipe water and flush toilets as well” added Dr. Jeffrey. “Some of them who may have supported Tan Sri Ghani’s canvassing to support the formation of Malaysia on stories of piped water and flush toilets and promises of development may still be living in Ranau”.
What went wrong?
What has transpired since 1963 that Sabahans have yet to receive piped water and flush toilets despite waiting for 50 years while many, many others have passed on since 1963 without even enjoying basic piped water.
A closer and deeper analysis will reveal that the root problem stems from the manipulation of the federal Malaya leaders since 1963 and the treatment of Sabah as a subservient colony with its riches and wealth particularly its oil and gas and revenues plundered and siphoned off to fund the lop-sided development in the Peninsula.
At the same time, it is the Malayan political agenda to keep Sabahans poor and destitute and dependent on hand-outs with 1-Azam, RM200 for registered fishermen with the latest being BRIMs and the perennial RM100 – RM200 per vote come election time.
It is no wonder and not surprising or unexpected that despite Umno/BN ruling Sabah since 1994, Sabah has descended from being the 2nd richest in the 1970s behind Selangor (including Kuala Lumpur then) to the poorest in 2010 where 40% of the poor in Malaysia are in Sabah and Labuan.
The statement that Sabah is the poorest State is not an opposition-trumped accusation but a proven fact issued by the World Bank after extensive research.
Perhaps, Tan Sri Ghani should have gone on to lament that in 2013 if he had been in the Peninsula recently, he would have noticed that Kuala Lumpur has the world renown Petronas Twin Towers, once the tallest building in the world, but funded by the oil revenues from Sabah and Sarawak, many world class skyscrapers and even a mono-rail with new extensions costing RM36 billion and a high speed train on the drawing boards. Yet, still no piped water or flush toilets for majority Sabahans in his hometown or elsewhere in Sabah.
Alas, it was not to be, as the eloquent moderator had kept the talk to the period 1961 to 1963.
With the telling of Tan Sri Ghani’s untold story, Sabahans need to wake up to the realities of the position and treatment of Sabah in Malaysia and seize every opportunity to assert and seek the restoration of Sabah’s rights particularly the oil resources where RM18 billion has been siphoned off to Malaya leaving a paltry RM941 million for Sabahans, if Sabah is to progress and develop into a modern nation-state, like Brunei and Singapore, not with just piped water and flush toilets.