Emulate Sarawak With Action And Less Talk; Southern Philippines Again


COMMENT: There is one big difference between us and Sarawak.

While Minister Rahman Dahlan was busy shouting about it, Sarawak without as much as a whimper, just went ahead and got it done.

While we talk or literally scream about it, all talk and no action, Sarawak is all action and little talk.

The first reform in education in Sarawak is underway with a shift in policy to promote greater usage of English in schools.

With the setting up of the first Sarawak Ministry of Education led by Michael Manyin Jawong, English language profeciency is set to be improved there.

Manyin singled out two primary schools in Limbang where English is spoken among teachers and pupils while still following the national syllabus in the classroom. The target is to get more schools especially in the rural areas to follow suit.

The Christian missionary schools had the best track record for English lessons and many of our leaders today had benefited from such. Why don’t we do something about this as an immediate response.

When Parti Warisan proposed the setting up of our own Ministry of Education – if they come into power – Musa Aman the Chief Minister was quick to retort by asking where the money was going to come from to run the ministry. Now, that Sarawak has shown the way, we can simply replicate it, can’t we, Musa?

It is clear, with all the talk about English schools here, there appears to be a lack of political will when the attitude should be “come what may we will go ahead as education especially English profiency is the only way to transform the state’s economy.”

Sarawak is putting its best foot forward to get what was agreed in Malaysia Agreement (MA63) complied with by all parties, and autonomy in education is one of them.

There was one phrase Lord Cobbold used as a caution when debating in the House of Lords on Malaysia Bill.

He said “It is a necessary condition that from the outset, Malaysia should be regarded by all concerned as an association of partners, combining in the common interest to create a new nation,but retaining their own individualities.”

Wise words indeed. Sarawak is getting there, while Sabah is becoming more and more of an UMNO state with each passing day, losing that Sabahan state brand that’s different and unique.

Quo Vadis,Sabah?


After a few false starts, it looks like it is on again.

The Palawan- Kudat ferry service is now scheduled to be up and running by August, according to Palawan Governor, Jose C. Alvarez.

The signing ceremony for the ferry services was signed between Sabahan and Philippines companies and witnessed by Special Task Minister Teo Chee Kang together with the Governor of the Province of Palawan, Jose CH Alvarex in this 2015 file photo.

When operational, the ferry would be able to accomodate 300 passengers, 12 lorry vehicles and 35 salon cars per voyage.

The journey is expected to take about 2-3 hours from Buliluyan Port to Kudat.

This connectivity will of course benefit traders, businessmen and tourists and will enhance people-to-people contacts with our closest neighbours.

However attractive it may look, we must be mindful of border security issues that are bound to surface with the opening of this second ferry route from the Philippines to here.

The Zamboanga -Sandakan route is pretty routine now, previously not many stringent measures were put in place on this route, we would not know who sneaked in and who sneaked out because of the laid back approach from both ends.

A local daily reported that passengers from Zamboanga now have to produce valid documents including letter of invitation from sponsor, marriage certificate, photo copy of ID and a return ticket. And proof of relationship between applicant and sponsor must also be produced.

Failing to do so, intended travellers would not be allowed to board the ferry. Let us hope this is for real.

Southern Phillipines is in turmoil again with martial law being imposed in Mindanao where ISIS influenced terrorists are going on a rampage in Marawi City, widely seen as the first city taken by ISIS in South East Asia.

Underground scenic river in Palawan is included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Philippines prides itself in having this tourist destination included as one of the winners of the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World.

The last time when martial law was imposed there by President Marcos, we had to bear much of the brunt too as many fled here seeing Sabah as a safe haven.

The Tanduo incursion in 2013 had jolted us from our deep sleep and the Government had put many security measures in place with the establishment of ESSCOM. Despite this, we still hear of boats sneaking in freely.

If and when the Palawan-Kudat ferry takes off, whatever is being implemented currently in the Zamboanga-Sandakan route must also be put in place from day one without any second thoughts.

We can’t let our guards down, while we are peace loving and quick to accept people different from us because of multi cultural background, there could be terrorists who want to get away from the heat and try to sneak in.

There must be zero tolerance for this .We simply cannot be laid back about it any more.

Our neighbourhood doesnot look like it is going to get peaceful anytime soon, and with what appears to be one-sided ferry traffic and everything else coming our way, we have no choice but to re-look at the Palawan-Kudat ferry.

It should only get the green light if our border security is water tight.