The STAR party describes the latest claim by BN as 'ridiculous' and demands proof.
INANAM: The State Reform Party (STAR) is crying “fake” about the recent announcement by the Sabah Barisan Nasional government that poverty in the reputedly poorest state in the country dropped to 8% last year from from 19.7% in 2009.
The party, which is led by Jeffrey Kitingan, the younger brother of Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin, also expressed incredulity at the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) findings that the average Sabahan household now earns RM4,013 per month.
“This is a ridiculous announcement but we can expect it from this government,” said STAR Sabah deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun in a statement.
He was commenting on the announcement on the new figures made by Director-General of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) Dr Rahamt Bivi Yussoff on Thursday.
“The announcement was made to hoodwink the people to believe BN’s own contention that they have delivered richness to the people in Sabah.
“In fact there are more poor people now as compared to four years ago,” alleged Jambun who is also chairman of a UK-based NGO, Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPiMaFo).
Jambun also accused the authorities of concocting findings and twisting facts in order to justify their persistent heaping of praises on BN leaders.
He said it should be remembered that Chief Minister Musa Aman announced a year ago that there was no more poverty in Tawau and that Tawau was the first district in Malaysia to attain such status.
“But who will believe a group of people who not only twist facts and figures but hide the truth from the people and worse still distort even the history of the country including the formation of Malaysia Federation back in 1963?
“I am already receiving complaints from voters across Sabah that the BN announcement that poverty in the state now stood only at 8%, and that each family now earna RM4,000 per month is just ‘bullshit’, to borrow their own words, misleading and misrepresenting the truth.
“The people refuse to believe such findings because they could feel and see for themselves what was going on in their kampungs. Poverty remains and in fact has worsened in many parts where BN leaders are helpless to provide anything,” Jambun said.
Publish the names
He also challenged the EPU and BN to publish the names of recipients of aid and list out these new families that now generate a group household earning of more than RM4,000 every month.
“If they fail to list out then they stand accused as liars and of hoodwinking (the people). What we fear is that these surveys were made in a certain month where members of the families were given RM500 or RM250 BR1M one-off cash aid and perhaps other aids,” he said.
Jambun also claimed that many households in Kadazandusun and Bajau kampungs earn less than RM2,000 per month and as much as up to 30% of the rural population are still living in dilapidated houses and more than half without clean water while more than 30% are without consistent electricity supply.
“Go to the kampungs in Tuaran, Kota Belud, Pitas, Ranau, Tongod, Kudat, Sandakan, Semporna, Banggi, Nabawan and Tenom and see for yourself how small houses have more than one family sharing a house.
“Malnutrition is everywhere, school dropouts high, public hygiene absent, social ills on the rise, no sense of security… our society is vulnerable to exploitation by those in power. This is the kind of society we are in in many places,” he said.
He said to test the believability of the ruling party, one needs to ask “why is it a crime to own a ‘bakakuk’ (homemade shotgun) to protect one’s ‘kebun’ (orchard) “but it was fine for a group of foreign bandits with modern rifles to threaten us and be supplied with food and water and even more”.
Jambun was referring the continuing standoff in Lahad Datu between Malaysian security forces and a large group of Filipino gunmen who have occupied a village within a Felda settlement.