By Michael Kaung
SANDAKAN: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) women’s wing has called for the revival of the rotation system of the Sabah chief minister’s post after the coming general election.
The system introduced in 1994 by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a “Sabah Baru” system for Muslim Bumiputera, non-Muslim Bumiputera and the Chinese communities to share the post every two years is the only way to prevent one community dominating the others in the state, its chief Nancy Lim said.
She said the system was attractive but unfortunately when implemented had become another issue.
Tun Sakaran Dandai from the Muslim Bumiputera held the chief minister post from March to December 1994 and it was then taken over by Salleh Said Keruak (December 1994-May 1996); Yong Teck Lee (May 1996 to May 1998); Bernard Dompok (May 1998-March 1999).
Dompok served for only nine months because he lost the 1999 general election and the post was given to Osu Sukam who held it until March 2001. Chong Kah Kiat took over until March 2003 and he was replaced by current Chief Minister Musa Aman who has held the post until today.
Lim said that for the past 16 years of BN ruling in Sabah, the chief minister’s post was held more than 11 years by the Muslim Bumiputera, four years by the Chinese and only nine months by the non-Mulsim Bumiputera.
She said that as LDP women’s wing leader, she is concerned that the Umno-led BN government had not fulfilled its promise to the people of the state after it had deposed the popularly elected Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government in 1994.
Lim was referring to Umno’s promise of a “Sabah Baru” and assurances of equal opportunity to all communities and power sharing among the BN component partners.
She also contended that if a person holds the chief minister’s post for too long, it would make that person too powerful.
“In view of that, it is time for the Sabah people, including the Kadazandusun and Murut communities to re-think the present situation as to what is the problem actually.
“We propose that the new rotation system is for a minimum period of one term or four years and a maximum of two terms or eight years,” Lim added.
Field clean candidates
Umno came to Sabah in the early 1990′s after Usno disolved and its members joined the peninsula-based party. At the time of its entry into Sabah, Mahathir urged the people of Sabah to topple the PBS government which had been accused of corruption.
“It is sad to see that over the past 13 years, the so-called corrupted leaders from PBS joined the BN one after another,” said Lim.
“As such, we strongly support Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s initiative in selecting candidates who are clean from corruption for the coming general election,” she said.
Touching on the issue of poverty, Lim said that Sabah’s population represented a mere 10% of the national population but yet 40% of the hardcore poor in the country are found in Sabah.
According to a World Bank Report, the Rungus community who mainly live in Kudat and Kota Marudu has the highest number of hardcore poor at 40% followed by other natives such as Suluk, Orang Sungai, Bajau and the Kadazandusun and Murut (KDM).
“Sabah is endowed with rich natural resources but still remain the poorest state in the country… where has Sabah’s money gone to?” Lim asked.
She also questioned the federal government for its failure to deal with the issue of illega immigrants in the state despite being in power in Sabah for 16 years.
According to statistics, Sabah’s population has grown from around 600,000 in 1970 to some 3.5 million now pointing to foreigners now outnumbering locals.
Apart from a rise in crime and social problems, ramshackled illegal squatter colonies have sprouted around the state and their inhabitants have caused a strain on the medical services and education facilities.
“Many of these so-called ‘new Malaysians’ managed to obtain MayKads and permanent residence status. While these foreigners can obtain MyKad easily, fellow Malaysians from other states who have resided in Sabah for a long time still find it difficult to get permanent residence status here,” Lim said, adding that LDP wanted a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the matter. – FMT