By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KUDAT: The abject conditions experienced by Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal while on his party’s ‘jelajah’ (or roadshow) in the northern part of the state has made the Warisan Sabah chief pledge that the district will see rapid development when a change in government takes place.
Shafie said that a Warisan government has plenty of development plans, and to make Sabah a trading hub, a brand new port will be built in Kudat, to take advantage of the town’s pivotal position in the region.
“No part of Sabah will be left out in Warisan’s ‘New Deal For The People’ as we aim to bring massive job opportunities so that our youth will not have to migrate to other states in search of jobs,” he said after touring Kudat and Banggi.
“We will look at all aspects of downstream processing of our natural resources, in particular oil and gas, as well as our plantation sector, where we want to add value to our crude palm oil, instead of exporting it raw to other countries.”
Shafie said for far too long, Sabah’s natural resources such as timber, had been exported in log form by the state government, rather than having the logs processed in the state.
He said this led to a log shortage and many sawmills in the state had to close down as there was no logs to process, and he asked why the government preferred to export logs rather than support local industry.
“We will most certainly look into what we can do to give value to our oil and gas resources as well as CPO, among others, so that these industries will create the jobs needed by our local population,” Shafie pointed out.
He said the stalled clinker plant at Balambangan would be looked into and new joint venture partners be brought in to revive the project which never took off due to reasons best known to the authorities concerned.
Speaking at Tanjung Kapor, Shafie said a new port in Kudat will definitely spur the economy as ships plying the South China Sea would find it an ideal stopover.
“Apart from a modern port, the airport here will also be upgraded and in time, a rail link will be established so that cargo containers can be transported down from Kudat, all the way to the State capital and beyond,” he said.
He also mentioned about the BIMP-EAGA market with an estimated 70 million population with Kudat possibly serving as the main port to southern Philippines, with legal imports and exports.
He said huge oil and gas reserves had also been discovered off Semporna, and this should also be a boon for the east coast towns
Apart from that, there would be well-planned and implemented tourism projects in various parts of the state, with such projects to be discussed with the people as stakeholders, before they are developed.
“We need to reignite Sabah into its rightful place on the Borneo Island. We want to bring back the greatness to Sabah.
“There is a reason why Sabah has beautiful beaches, the mountain, the pristine rainforests and her (humble) people. The people must benefit from all these attractions and not just a handful of well-connected cronies,” he added.
“Imagine Sabah taking away Bali’s clientele, or Singapore’s health tourists, and perhaps Hong Kong’s trade…..the opportunities are endless but we don’t want selfish leaders keeping or doing things all for themselves.
“And yes, we want to take back talented Sabahans who had to go elsewhere because they could not find jobs here. The government may say these are empty promises, but I tell you, these are endless possibilities and all because we care for the people and want them to prosper.”
Shafie said at Pulau Banggi, where he put up a night with the villagers, he was appalled the government had failed to do much for the people who were still living in squalid conditions, despite federal and state ministers visiting there and boasting about projects which were never fulfilled.
At Pulau Banggi, Shafie and his entourage went from house to house at Kg Karakit, Kg Batu Layar, Kg Limbuak, Kg Padang, Kg Damaran and Kg Loktohog, where he told the people that they could expect a ‘change for the better’ with Warisan in power.