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Govt bias against Christian contractors

By Luke Rintod of FMT
They are genuine contractors trying to participate in
the economic development in the country, says SAPP
 KOTA BELUD: A senior Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) leader, Peter Marajin, called on the authorities to look into claims that it has been difficult for Dusun Christian contractors in the district to get government jobs amid allegations of race discrimination by officers including at the development unit of the District Office.

“I take seriously such complaints because they kept coming to my ear and that these small time contractors alleged that some of their peers had stopped “trying” to get jobs after being continuously sidelined by those in the authorities.

“These complaints range from simple half-hearted treatment by certain officers on Dusun Christian contractors as compared to their Muslim counterparts.

“They even claimed that they have complained to Kadamaian assemblyman Herbert Timbon Lagadan but he could do nothing to alleviate the situation,” said Marajin.

Marajin, a lawyer, said it is a great concern to him as a leader from the affected community, and it is time to speak on their behalf, lest it is taken for granted that everything is okay and there are no complaints whatsoever.

“As much as I hate to pick up on potentially racial issue, it must be highlighted now that such discriminatory acts by public officers and leaders of the ruling party do not augur well for our multi-ethnic society that we all have come to appreciate in Kota Belud and Sabah.

“I feel sorry for these victimised contractors as I believe they are genuine contractors trying to participate in the economic and development cake of this country.

“There is even more need to be sensitive to needs and perception of justice in a multi-religious community like ours, something certain officers and leaders had failed to appreciate,” he stressed.

Contractors fear backlash
The popular lawyer from this district urged local leaders and in particular the district officer to look into the complaints and not start defending themselves.

“These contractors refused to come out openly at  the moment as they fear further backlash from those in the authorities,” he pointed out.

Marajin said he took special interest in certain complaints that Dusun contractors who got jobs to be approved were denied right to carry out the jobs, after being subjected to excessive bureaucratic procedures that seemed designed to force them to give up the jobs so that it could be awarded to other favoured contractors.

“I hope this allegation is not true, at least not because of race and religion but more of question of competency. But then competency is another subjective matter altogether in a heavily politically-influenced decisions.

“I’m also made to understand that contractors who are Umno members or supporters find it easier to get projects and that they kept getting jobs while others non-Umno (contractors) would hardly get anything at all,” he said.

He said there was even talk in the town that a certain Dusun officer had been transferred to another district simply because he did not make it a point to be always present at a certain Umno leader’s function.

“Now this has to be clarified, as we are auditing how public offices are being staffed and manned in Kota Belud. SAPP will share whatever information we have at the coming election,” said Marajin who is set to be fielded by SAPP in the Kadamaian state constituency.

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