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UBF: Sabah Development Corridor failed to absorb unemployed

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah—The fate of 578 attachment teachers who are awaiting ministerial directions after their contracts ended last year should be a State Government responsibility said United Borneo Front (UBF) leader, Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan.
“The buck should not be shoved back to the Ministry of Education when the State Government, through the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) had made a promise to the Sabah people that 900,000 jobs would be created between the18 year period of 2009 to 2026 at a total investment of RM105 billion. That’s an average of 50,000 jobs annually starting 2009 at an annual investment of RM5.8 billion annually. These figures seem incredible and almost impossible yet the State Government made these promises, set up the Sabah Development Corridor and entrusted the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) as a one stop authority to drive the SDC. Either something is seriously wrong in the financial machinery of the Sabah State Government or they deliberately made promises they could never keep. The Prime Minister should look into this seriously as it is a blow to the nation when we can show up the issue of 578 attachment teachers as being something we can’t deal with locally,” stated Dr. Jeffrey in his press statement.


He added, “According to 2009 data, with over 1.3 million people in the Sabah labour force, the participation rate was at 65.6% and the unemployment rate stood at 6.1%. What is the unemployment rate in Sabah today and with all the SDC projects and tenders, how far has SEDIA kept its promise of enhancing the quality of life of the people by accelerating the growth of Sabah’s economy? We must stop thinking that the Federal Government owes this State a 100% responsibility to accommodate the needs of Sabahans as that will prove that the Sabah State Government is nothing more than a proxy for the Federal. If we have the money as promised by SDC to accommodate employment needs in this State, the State Government should have by now identified new industries to create job opportunities and maximise local human capital. The government must not make references to developments and investments made by the private sector as if it was their own. They have to come up with their own initiative and absorb 50,000 jobs annually as promised by the SDC.”
Dr. Jeffrey also stated that there is no point complaining about the great disparities between local and West Malaysian teachers in terms of pay, allowances and perks because “nothing has changed in the attitude over 47 years. The only thing we can do is look at our State coffers and responsibly invest as nobly promised in the SDC blueprint. Be an economically responsible government and keep those promises. Don’t just enrich a few.”
Together with his advisers, Nilakrisna James and Zainal Ajamain, the issue of the State economy will be discussed and deliberated by Dr. Jeffrey at a planned inter-party dialogue and leadership seminar on 5th March 2011.

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