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Why are rural areas neglected if Sabah economy booming?

 | August 14, 2017

Sabah PKR deputy chairman Mustapha Sakmud says rural citizens are suffering and need attention.

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KOTA KINABALU: Sabah PKR has criticised Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani for claiming there has been a boom in the local economy, saying rural citizens are still facing hardship.

Sabah PKR deputy chairman Mustapha Sakmud said Johari had recently attributed the supposed economic success to the current administration led by Chief Minister Musa Aman.

“I urge the state government to explain why, if there is really an economic boom under the current state administration, rural citizens in Sabah are facing so many problems,” he asked in a statement issued today.

Mustapha, who is also PKR’s Kota Belud divisional chairman, described Johari’s statement on federal allocations for projects as having missed the point. He also said Johari had failed to highlight any of the issues faced by rural citizens.

“Taking Kota Belud itself for instance, the constant flood problems experienced by the people show the imbalance of the budget allocations.

“The sorry state of the suspension bridge at Kampung Lobong Lobong, which PKR and Pakatan Harapan president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail visited last month, has been neglected by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

“Sabah PKR leaders had to resort to using their own funds to build a new suspension bridge for the people.

“Such problems have never been solved despite most of the rural areas being BN strongholds for the past few decades.”

Mustapha said he had handed a flood mitigation petition to the relevant authorities, together with Christina Liew, who is also Api-Api assemblyperson, at the state legislative assembly building recently.

He believed the villages in Kota Belud were not the only ones experiencing such issues.

“So how can the finance minister still claim the economy is booming under the current leadership?

“If there really was a RM6.8 billion budget allocation for rural electricity over the course of seven years, how many more rural constituencies still have no electricity, given the fact that there was a budget cut for electricity supply in Sabah’s rural areas last year?”

Mustapha hoped the government would provide a solution for each constituency’s problems based on its needs and not provide rough figures for allocations.

“Furthermore, the state government should explain why infrastructure or flood mitigation assistance is still insufficient for the people in Kota Belud and other affected areas even until today,” he said.

“If there has been an economic boom in Sabah under the current leadership, the state government should also explain if there has been any mismanagement in economic growth, leading to the current state of affairs.”

Mustapha also said the federal minister’s statement failed to address bread-and-butter issues and seemed intended only to woo rural voters.

He also quoted Kota Kinabalu Umno division chief Faisyal Diego as saying that “the political power Umno holds has contributed much to the fate of the people”.

He said rural constituencies appeared to be just a political chess game for Umno and BN to win the general election.

In contrast, Pakatan Harapan vows to allocate more funding for rural development and infrastructure, make education fully accessible to Malaysians and also abolish the goods and services tax, he concluded.

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Warisan laments slow flood mitigation work in Sabah


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