(Kota Kinabalu, Thursday): The Barisan Nasional made the infamous “Sabah Baru” pledges in the 1994 Sabah state general election of zero poverty, zero illiteracy, zero illegal immigrant, zero phantom voter, zero corruption and a house for every Sabahan by the year 2,000 – none of which had been fulfilled.
All the Barisan Nasional national and Sabah leaders would want to forget about their 1994 “Sabah Baru” election pledges, which included the two-year rotation system for the post of Sabah Chief Minister, but the people of Sabah must not allow the Barisan Nasional leaders to ever forget their “Sabah Baru” election pledges and must constantly hold them to the various “Sabah Baru” promises and demand a proper and regular accounting.
With the nine-day Gaya parliamentary by-election coming to a close, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Chong Kah Kiat, should give a full and latest accounting to the people of Gaya and Sabah the extent the Barisan Nasional had fulfilled its “Sabah Baru” election pledge eight years ago, in particular its promises of zero poverty in the year 2,000 from 33 per cent in 1994 (when all it could achieve was 20.1 per cent in 1999, the highest of all states in Malaysia), to increase Sabah’s per capita income from RM3,600 in 1994 to RM10,000 in 2,000, zero illiteracy, zero corruption, zero illegal immigrant, zero phantom voter and a house for every Sabahan – all by the year 2,000.
Sabah has many “firsts” in Malaysia. For instance, Sabah has the most number of “Datuks” in the country. The Sabah state assembly last year was told of the joke going around in the peninsula that “if you throw a stone into a crowd in Sabah, not only will it hit a datuk but it will ricochet off him and hit another datuk”. Sabah has the most number of former Chief Ministers, to the extent that the people have lost count - with seven Sabah Chief Ministers in the last eight years. Sabah is also swiftly getting the reputation of having the worst corruption among the states in the country.
DAP calls for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to ascertain as to whether Sabah is the state with the worst problem of corruption in the country despite the 1994 Barisan Nasional “Sabah Baru” election pledge of zero-corruption by 2,000 and whether this is because of the rotation system producing seven Chief Ministers in eight years.
In the past eight years, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) in Sabah had initiated countless corruption investigations, as the administration of every Chief Minister under the rotation system seemed to have spawned an unique set and legacy of problems raising questions about misgovernment, abuses of power and even corruption to the extent that an article in the Sunday Star in February last year about Sabah’s “power-sharing system” had this cynical comment about the Chief Ministership rotation system:
“Ask politicians and journalists about the rotation system, and they will jokingly say: ‘One CM took the hills, one gave away the sea, one signed off the valleys and another bet on watery deals.’
“They cannot help but compare what veteran politicians say about the Usno-Berjaya-PBS governments: ‘Usno took the meat of the timber, Berjaya the bones and PBS the crumbs with Barisan looking at leftovers.’”
Everyone in Sabah knows what is meant with the cynical comment that “One CM took the hills, one gave away the sea, one signed off the valleys and another bet on watery deals” except the ACA – which has never been able to conclude its countless corruption investigations into the administrations of the seven Chief Ministers in eight years with a single prosecution in the courts!
If Abdullah and Chong Kah Kiat are unable to give a full accounting of the Sabah Baru pledge of zero corruption in the Gaya by-election campaign, then they should support the DAP call for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to ascertain as to whether Sabah has the worst problem of corruption in the country despite the 1994 Barisan Nasional “Sabah Baru” election pledge of zero-corruption by 2,000 and whether this is because of the rotation system producing seven Chief Ministers in eight years.
Furthermore, the voters of Gaya should vote for the DAP candidate, Hiew King Cheu on Saturday, as only a DAP Member of Parliament for Gaya can take the issue of the broken Sabah Baru election pledges of zero poverty, zero illiteracy, zero illegal immigrant, zero phantom voter, zero corruption and a house for every Sabahan by the year 2,000 to Parliament !
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman