KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) said Dr Mahathir Mohamad is Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) biggest liability in Sabah.
Its secretary-general, Richard Yong, said the reputation of Mahathir, who is chairman of PH and PPBM, was the reason its ally in Sabah, Parti Warisan Sabah, was keeping a distance from him.
“Sabahans cannot forget about Project IC in Sabah when Mahathir was prime minister,” he said.
“It was under his rule that Projek IC went into full swing with thousands of unqualified foreigners being given dubious citizenship documents,” Yong said in a statement today.
He said this was evident in the state’s astronomical 380% population growth from 630,000 to more than 2.4 million between 1970 and 2010.
He was commenting on DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang’s statement that he did not know why Mahathir had so far avoided campaigning in Sabah for the May 9 polls.
Speaking in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, Lim had said he was aware “mistakes” had happened during Mahathir’s rule, but called on Sabahans to give him a chance to right his wrongs by giving the mandate to PH.
Mahathir, 93, is PH’s candidate for prime minister in the event the pact wins the election.
Yong said Sabahans had seen their state’s natural resources, such as oil and gas, being funnelled out under the Mahathir administration to finance the development of Peninsular Malaysia.
“So while highways, airports and LRT services were being built in Malaya, Sabahans had to go around on roads filled with potholes,” he said.
“Sabah’ rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 were disregarded and we became a state that became nothing more than a source of resources for Malaya to benefit from.”
He said with Mahathir now leading PH, Sabahans saw the opposition pact as being no different from Barisan Nasional (BN), with PPBM being an “Umno Team B” and DAP an MCA replica.
“How else can one explain why DAP and PKR are now suddenly silent on the Projek IC issue?”