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Sabah Motorists Shortchanged Again? - Dr. Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu:    “Sabah motorists have been short-changed again.   It is as though Sabah motorists and Sabah is not part of the federation of Malaysia but in another alien county” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in commenting on RM400 million compensation package for toll operators and concessionaires in 2014 so that there is no toll hike for motorists in the Peninsula.

There is no doubt that the government made a U-turn in deciding against imposing the toll hike due to the objections of the people and the opposition.    It is another bad example of the government failing to fully evaluate and appraise themselves before announcing the toll hike and now have to back down and backtrack on their earlier decision.
Kudos to the people for having won the day and forcing the government to overturn a wrong decision.

For the motorists in Sabah, it’s another sad and disappointing day, for Sabahans, it is another injustice done to them in the way the federal government has marginalized them again. 

It’s another day to wonder when the federal government will treat Sabahans as equal Malaysians.

It’s another day to wonder when will the Sabah government leaders look after the interests of Sabah and Sabahans and stop the unfair and unjust treatment of Sabah by the federal government.

The RM400 million compensation package is the highest annual amount to-date and will total RM1.53 billion subsidy for motorists in the Peninsula.   Sabah motorists get nothing but a snub again from the federal government.

If the federal government and the MPs from Sabah, both government and opposition, as the Sabah government and the Sabah BN leaders think that Sabah motorists do not deserve compensation at least to build better roads in Sabah, they need to re-think again.

For benefit of the PM and his entourage who come to Sabah and travel by helicopter and the Sabah leaders who are too comfortable in their posh offices, they need to understand the conditions of the roads in Sabah which motorists and villagers have to endure daily.

The one and only “highway” linking Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan is worse than ordinary kampong roads in Malaya.  It is full of pot-holes that are re-sealed by patching or “main tampal-tampal” in local lingo and many stretches are unsealed after repairs, probably due to lack of funds from JKR.

The “highway” is also narrower than roads in Lawas, Sarawak, by 2 feet.   There is barely any room for error when two big lorries pass each other.   Any error of either lorry in keeping to their side of the road is punished by an accident as happened recently in Telupid when 2 trailers collided.   Many roads are uneven, more like sea-waves than a highway road.    In wet and rainy conditions, lorries and cars are known to have veered into side-drains or overturned as happened recently on the KK-Tambunan road.

Yet, for all the bad conditions, the federal government calls the main roads part of the Pan-Borneo Highway for which a miserly RM500 million was given in Budget 2014.

For the other more rural roads and village dirt tracks, anyone from the Peninsula will not be able to imagine the atrocious conditions unless one has travelled on these roads and tracks.   For the visiting PM and the federal Ministers, they would have imagined these rural roads and village tracks are as good as the roads in the Peninsula as seen from the statement by the former Works Minister from Negri Sembilan that the roads in Sabah are equal to those in the Peninsula.

It is high time for the federal government and the Sabah government to re-assess their priorities and standards of roads in Sabah and take the necessary action to build and upgrade Sabah roads equal to that in the Peninsula.  

“Sabah motorists are not asking for multi-level highways like in the Peninsula but a good and high quality network of roads throughout Sabah.   Sabahans should no longer be treated as second-class Malaysians by the federal government” stressed Dr. Jeffrey.

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