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Federal Govt ignoring Sabah issues

Failure to address Sabah issues may set the course
for a radical mindset among young people in future
KOTA KINABALU, September 15, 2011: A 'revolution' among young peoples' thinking may be inevitable for Sabah in future, if the Federal government continues to ignore the legitimate plights of the Sabah people, said former Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

"The government have to recognize the basic facts and the problems (facing the people). What we see now in the mainstream media, our political leaders including the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister keep ignoring what's happening; Youth unemployment is very serious, grabbing of people's land (by private companies) is very seriousness where the people are losing their traditional livelihood and culture, and when they come into the urban area, there's no jobs, they become squatters, they become hopeless," he said.

Yong who is also President of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) warned this while speaking at the Hari Raya open house hosted by its Vice President, Dullie Hj Marie, at his residence in Petagas, on Tuesday.

He lamented that poor governance, implementation of unfair policies and exploitation of Sabah's natural resources by the present government had made it increasingly difficult for the people of Sabah to make a decent living in their own land.

He cited for example, Sabah youths had to leave their family and loved ones to migrate to Peninsular Malaysia in search of a better job, as most of the jobs in the state civil service had been given to those from Peninsular Malaysia. This included the position of Computer Technician for the government schools.

Yong blamed this on the Federal government's failure to honour the Borneonisation of the State civil service, which was part of the pre-condition in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

"In the past we can accept the dispatching of senior officers for the various government departments and professionals in the various fields from the west (Peninsular Malaysia) which we were lacking. But today, 47 years after we achieved independence, we even have such junior staff like clerks and computer technicians for school being sent from Kuala Lumpur to Sabah.

"The State government had claimed that they have trained 40,000 ICT technicians over the years, but on the other hand, computer technicians were still being dispatched from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah," he said.

Yong reiterated that the continuous exploitation of Sabah natural resources especially its oil and gas, had essentially impoverished Sabah and its people, except for the ruling elites and their cronies.

Towards this end, he cited a recent distressing observation where, a woman and his daughter were found scavenging for food to feed their family. It was later found out that they were from a remote village in Kota Marudu.

He thus said his message was a warning that is not to be taken lightly by the government of the day.

"What we are asking for – autonomy, efficient economy and fairer policies for Sabah actually is a solution to some of the problems that we are facing today. If you continue to deny that solution to bring about a fairer solutions for Sabah i.e. the oil and gas, youth unemployment, Borneonisation of the civil service and land reform etc, it can bring about a more serious and radical alternative. This is a social issue that will eventually translate into a political crisis. It had happened in many countries," he warned.

He reiterated that one of the solutions is autonomy – delegation of powers to the State.

"We must go back to the Malaysia Agreement, go back to land reform whereby land will be given back to the people, proper human resource training, and employment given to youth here. That will bring about stabilization of the society.

"Otherwise you'll get a radical solution. The people, the young generation especially, are now talking that if they don't have autonomy, they will go all the way to Merdeka (to fight for true independence from the Federal government)," he warned.

Describing such a phenomenon as a "mental revolution" among the young generation, he warned that if continued to be ignored by those in power today, it could ultimately lead to a real revolution.

"Increasing number of people are talking about this, especially in the alternative media and social networks like Facebook but, for me I'm not comfortable with such a talk. Although the number is still small but it can grow and when it grows it can grow very fast.

"We can be reaching that critical point whereby young people have lost hope of change within the democratic system and they become more radical. We have seen that in other countries and it would be beyond the control of the political structure.

"We have seen this happened in other countries like Indonesia, Egypt and Mindanao. Today, the young people of Mindanao no longer listen to their political leaders including the MNLF and MILF who had failed them. They are now doing things their own way, more radical and more violent.

"It's not impossible that the same could also happen in Sabah as the people have no choice and are becoming increasingly desperate.

"Hence, if there's no political autonomy and situation become worse, it will lead to a revolution where they will be enough young people to demand for change in a more radical manner," he reiterated.

Also present at the occasion were a group of senior officials of United Borneo Front (UBF) led by its co-founder cum chief architect, Zainal Ajamain, SAPP Supreme Council members including its deputy presidents Datuk Liew Teck Chan and Amde Hj Sidik, Vice President Don Chin, Secretary-general Datuk Richard Yong, Women Chief Melanie Chia, Youth Chief Edward Dagul, Peter Marajin, Japiril Suhaimin, Chia Miu Lee, Agnes Liew, its Kadamaian CLC Chairman, Youth Vice Chairman II, Chester Pang, and Youth Exco members Md. Nazib Maidan and Stephen Gaimin, and ex State Finance Minister Datuk Mohd Noor Mansor who is also a Party Advisor.

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