A public apology is in order from Saddi given his status as a state leader. His choice of words and framing causes division and confusion by making them out as a common enemy for Sabah
KOTA KINABALU – Organisations named by Sukau Assemblyman Datuk Saddi Abdul Rahman as the reason for the delay in building a second bridge in Kinabatangan, have brought in millions (of Ringgit) in international philanthropic funding to the Kinabatangan region.
These same organisations have also both trained and supported new generations of local conservationists and researchers, Sabah-based NGO Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) said Wednesday.
In a strongly-worded statement, directed at Saddi, LEAP Executive Director Cynthia Ong said the founders of organisations listed by the Assemblyman, have introduced, developed and grown expertise over their many years of investing their lives and careers in Sabah, and are leaders in their fields not just in Sabah, but regionally and internationally.
Based on data from years of research and engagement with diverse groups, these organisations have also worked closely with government agencies and local communities -and contributed to managing species, land use, and nature-based tourism.
“We are blessed that they have chosen Sabah as their base. Rather than make erroneous allegations and dismiss them as outsiders, it would be appropriate for us to acknowledge their contributions and regard them as honorary Sabahans.
“They also bring global perspectives to help us shape our future in an informed way, and avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that western societies may have encountered,” Ong said in a statement.
In his debate speech at the current State Legislative Assembly sitting Saddi was reported as making serious allegations, insinuating misappropriation of funds, and saying the foreign conservationists “had come to Sabah with nothing, but now live in grandeur in Kota Kinabalu”.
“If he has evidence, he (Saddi) has a responsibility to report to the police. On the other hand, if he does not have any evidence, it hardly appears as responsible leadership to make such accusations,” Ong pointed out.
She said a public apology is in order from Saddi given his status as a state leader, adding that the Assemblyman’s choice of words and framing causes division and confusion by making them out as a common enemy for Sabah.
“I believe we can do better than that. We can listen and we can deliberate with care over a matter of huge consequence and seriousness for land, animals and people.
“We will be responsible and accountable for the impacts of this bridge; we would be wise to consider informed, even if differing opinions.
“And this is not to say they are right and you or we are wrong, but we must grow the maturity as a society to hear a diversity of views without resorting to slander,” added.