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Is UPKO Still Relevant or Powerless? -STAR

Kota Kinabalu:    “While it is laudable for the Upko MP for Putatan to be brave enough to voice the lack of funding for Sabah, it shows that Upko is irrelevant and powerless in the BarisanNasional and incapable of safeguarding the interests of Sabah” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in response to the statement by Datuk Dr. Marcus Mojigoh recently thatSabah should be getting more funding from the Federal Government towards improving the electricity supply in the state and that the electricity tariffs were increased without consulting the elected representatives.
Upko and its representatives need to be reminded that they are in government and not in the opposition and should not be making statements lamenting the plight of Sabahans.

As part of the Umno/BN government, they should be performing their responsibilities and ensuring that Sabah gets the necessary allocations and funds for projects for the benefit of Sabahans.  These projects should not be restricted to power supply.

Poor Sabahans need everything from clean treated water to electricity; from sealed roads to proper bridges; from well-equipped schools to hospitals, clinics and family and children care and welfare; from loss of job opportunities due to non-implementation of the Borneonization policy;from security to proper issuance of ICs and MyKads to citizens not illegal immigrants; from implementation of good government policies to abolishment of bad policies like the cabotage policy; from protection of indigenous native rights to native customary rights to land from being given to non-natives and Malays classified as natives; from poverty eradication to lack of support for agriculture needs in the interiors; from protection against unfair implementation of the KetuananMelayu/bumiputra policies; from the importation of Umno/Malayan racial hegemony to freedom to practice religion; from the exploitation and unfair distribution of its oil and gas resourcesto the return of its rightful ownership rights to the oil and gas.   The list is endless, such is the plight of Sabahans and the indigenous natives who were supposed to be protected under Article 41 of the Sabah Constitution.

It is not just about funds for improvement of power.  What about federal aid for flood victims in Sabah while those in the Peninsula are getting thousands of ringgit along with TV sets, refrigerators and other goodies?   What about the funds for repairs of roads and slopes caused by the recent floods?   What is Upko doing to get these aid for the flood victims and road and slope repairs in Sabah?

The endless problems in Sabah are partly caused and partly attributed to the ineffectiveness of parties like Upko in the Sabah and national BN.   Instead of being pulled by their noses, the Sabah BN leadersshould leverage on their positions and demand that Sabah gets its rightful allocations and funds for the proper development of Sabah.

“We are not asking for funds that are contributed by other States or to take away the development funds meant for other States” stressed Dr. Jeffrey.

In 2014, Sabah will be contributing RM26.6 billion from its oil and gas resources to Petronas and the federal coffers.   In 2013, Sabahans contributed another RM772 million in taxes and revenues collected by Customs in Sabah.   Sabah is one of the biggest contributors to the federal Treasury, perhaps only second to Sarawak who contributes RM45 billion in oil revenue alone.

In Malaya, the power disruption benchmark is a SAIDI of 60 minutes/customer currently.   Why must Sabah settle for a yet unachieved SAIDI target of 450 minutes which the Sabah federal Minister for Power and SESB proudly boasts of?

SESB has already said that RM4 billion is needed to achieve a SAIDI of 60 minutes for Sabah.   Shouldn’t the Putatan MP and his counterparts in Sabah BN be demanding for this RM4 billion allocation for Sabah? RM4 billion is a small token sum compared to RM26.6 billion per year and which will rise to RM50 billion in 2015/2016.

After all, with its huge contributions, Sabahans deserve to have minimal power disruption which will also enable consumers to save on unnecessary capital expenditure such as standby generator sets or gen-sets.   In Sabah, many businesses have these gen-sets to cater for blackouts.   Similar businesses in Malaya do not need such gen-sets.

Sabah and Sarawak MPs are now kingmakers and can determine the continuation or fall of the Umno/BN federal government.   Such is the leverage of Upko and the other BN components in Sabah.

The time has come for Upko and their Sabah BN counterparts to rise and demand for the rightful allocations for the welfare and interests of Sabahans.   They need to prove that they are still relevant and not powerless unless they just wish to continue to be political eunuchs and be used as political mules to carry outUmno’sinstructions and rotten policies and sideline the rights of Sabah and the interests of Sabahans.

Alternatively, if they are not given due recognition in BN, Upko should initiate and persuade their fellow Sabahans in Umno to leave Umno and join forces with the other Sabah BN components to stand alone and form an alternative federal government and an alternative Sabah government.  It will be better for the people of Sabah or will they be traitors to Sabah’s cause?

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