By LIM GUAN ENG
COMMENT: Sabahans voting for Warisan Plus and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as Chief Minister is equivalent to voting to protect Sabah’s autonomy and increased development funding from the Federal government.
The Sabah state election is clearly a battle between the two leaders, Warisan Plus led by Shafie and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah(GRS) led by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Supporting Warisan Plus is clearly a vote by Sabahans for Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as Chief Minister, whereas a vote for GRS will permit Muhyiddin to choose who is the next Sabah Chief Minister.
Sabahans have no choice but to support Shafie, if they want to retain their powers of autonomy to choose their own Chief Minister and not let an outsider decide.
Further, supporting Shafie can also help increase development funding Sabah from the Federal government by sending a clear and unequivocal message that Sabahans will not be bullied, but demand a fair share of the development funding needed to lift Sabah out of the unfortunate position as the poorest state in Malaysia.
Even before voting tomorrow, Muhyiddin had already reinstated the RM4.2 million project I had approved as Minister of Finance, to upgrade 24 bridges in Kampung Sim-Sim in Sandakan.
This project was amongst 5 PH projects in Sandakan cancelled on 8 July by the present PN government. The other 4 other projects in Sandakan that remained cancelled are:-
* RM4 million to install a sewage system for 400 homes in Kampung Cina Sim-Sim
* RM400,000 to upgrade a community hall,
* RM1 million road project at St. Monica Road junction ; and
* RM1 million to repair a home for the blind.
Voting Warisan Plus can teach PN a lesson not to cruelly cancel Sabah projects for the rakyat out of political vengeance. PN must honour the spirit of the 1963 Malaysian Agreement and the Cobbold Commission’s recommendation that Sabah be treated as an equal partner.
Has Muhyiddin forgotten that without Sabah there will be no Malaysia? Sabahans voting for Warisan Plus will remind Muhyiddin that Sabahans will not be bullied and of Sabah’s special status as an equal partner.
PH had increased the development funding for Sabah by RM1.1 billion from RM4.1 billion under the 2018 Budget to RM5.2 billon under the 2020 Budget. PH had facilitated RM 18.2 billion investments flowing into Sabah in 22 months, as compared to BN bringing in only RM9.7 billion in 5 years from 2013-2018.
Even though a Shafie victory will affect Muhyiddin’s position as Prime Minister, Muhyiddin has not promised he will do the same or better that PH. Shafie as the Sabah Chief Minister elected by Sabahans, will be a constant reminder to Muhyiddin that he has accomplished little and must do more for Sabah.
* Lim Guan Eng is DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bagan