(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): There can be no joy for the Kadazandusun community at the rotation of the Sabah Chief Ministership to Tan Sri Bernard Dompok as thousands of its drought-stricken farming families face starvation and food shortages in the state.
It is most regrettable that the Sabah Barisan Nasional MPs failed to focus and highlight during the last Parliamentary meeting the plight of the thousands of families in 672 villages in six districts who required help after their food crops were destroyed in the drought, and that Opposition MPs from both the DAP and PBS were the only ones to demand Federal Government help and intervention and recognition of a disaster situation in Sabah.
In the 1994 Sabah state general elections, the Barisan Nasional promised that a Sabah Barisan Nasional government would abolish poverty in Sabah to zero in the year 2,000.
There are only 18 months to go before the year 2,000. I had raised in the last Parliament the Barisan Nasional promise to eliminate poverty in Sabah by the year 2,000, but Barisan Nasional leaders looked very embarrased and were most evasive in their response.
As the new Sabah Chief Minister, Bernard Dompok should make clear as to whether the Sabah Barisan Nasional is still committed to its 1994 general election pledge to eliminate poverty to zero by the year 2,000, or whether in view of the increasing poverty suffered by the poorest communities in Sabah as highlighted by the prolonged food shortages and starvation in the state, this election pledge has been abandoned altogether.
The Sabah state government had been very slow in going to the help of the drought-stricken farming families and the new Chief Minister should show that he is capable of providing more effective and efficient help to the 2,270 families affected by the six-month drought in Sabah that had wiped out more than 5,000 ha of crops, particularly in the northern and interior districts of Pitas, Kudat, Kota Marudu, Sook and Tenom.