LETTER: A Chinese New Year message for Sabahans

I am taking this opportunity to wish all Malaysians in Sabah especially our Chinese brothers and sisters a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year 2011.

I am also wishing the Sino-Natives the same during this festival. This is the year of the rabbit, which reflects on the beauty, charms, love and productivity.

Sabah is a very beautiful and charming country. It is endowed and blessed rich natural resources.

The future of such country depends on the ability of its people to manage the resources well. In other countries, which have barely any natural resources, their strength depends on the ability of their people to think and find ways to enrich the country.

Sabahans are loving people and have great tolerance. Even selfish political leaders who jumped from one party to another have a place in our society.

When government changes because of such leaders, the meaning of election becomes blur and meaningless. These selfish leaders must ask their conscience and feel for the thousands who are disheartened, broken hearted, in hardship and loss of livelihood because of their action.

The most spectacular feature that reflects Sabah in this year of the Rabbit is productivity. Sabah population growth has been unprecedented since the 70s.

It is no secret though that many of those who are now registered and enrolled in the electoral roll are illegal immigrants. The government of the day cannot deny their role in allowing such exercise to take root.

On the other hand, Sabah is a productive land. The land is so fertile and has sustained the local people for a long time. The oil palm plantation industry for example is thriving so well. There is also huge potential in rubber plantation. Therefore to uplift the standard of living, the Natives must be provided with land and given assistance by the government to develop these lands productively.

The lands developed by FELDA and FELCRA must be distributed to landless Sabahans in line with the original objective of these two Federal agencies.

Sabah is also endowed with such natural beauty and bio-diversity making tourism a very important economic activity. The government must have a more liberal open sky policy to allow more direct flights to land in Sabah.

The tourism sector must be enhanced because it benefits every strata of our society.

I am very concerned about the government’s inaction when it comes to lifting the ban on the book “The Golden Son of the Kadazan”. I see no reason why such a book which highlighted the character and political struggle of the late Datuk Peter Mojuntin should be banned.

The freeze on the issuance of the Native certificate has been in effect since 1982. Thus, for the past 30 years many Native women married to non-Native men, their children and grandchildren have lost their rights as Native of this country.

Their rights and privileges as Natives have passed them by and yet the call to lift the freeze are met with deaf ears.

How long do they have to wait to get justice?

After being independent for the past 48 years Sabahans are already prepared to manage their own state. Thousands of Sabahans have acquired higher education be it in West Malaysia or overseas and are ready to take over the Civil Service.

Borneonisation, which is one of the 20 points safeguarded when Sabah agreed to join Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, has not been expedited.

The Borneonisation process in which local Sabahans are to replace and administer the Federal Civil Service has been delayed unnecessarily.

I urge the government to quickly implement the Borneonisation process to satisfy the spirit that formed Malaysia.

The judiciary is perceived to be pro-government. The brain drain continues at a faster pace while our foreign investment is not coming but moving out of the country.

I urge Malaysians in Sabah not to despair even under all these unfavourable conditions. Leaving the country and keeping quiet are not permanent answers.

There is an opportunity for change. As Malaysia evolves into a 2-party system, the people have become the masters. So to be masters Malaysians must invest in the two-party system. The future of the country is in your hand. You vote for the government you deserve.

YB Jimmy Wong Sze Phin

Chairman

DAP Sabah