Stop blaming others, admit your weaknesses, Yong tells Warisan

Yong Teck Lee (left) says Darell Leiking should own up to the failings of the Warisan-led Sabah government.

PETALING JAYA: A former Sabah chief minister says Darell Leiking should stop blaming others and admit that Warisan’s weak administration had led to the state’s worst economic performance since taking control in 2018.

Yong Teck Lee said the plunge in Sabah’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 1.5 % in 2018 was not only due to the decline in commodity prices.

He said “drastic policy changes” had damaged business confidence, and accused the Warisan-led government of sending the wrong signal to investors by tampering with legal agreements and ongoing businesses.

This had exposed the Sabah government to damages amounting to billions of ringgit, he said.

Yong said Sabah had recorded the highest economic growth in Malaysia in 2017, surpassing even the national average, which was at 5.9 %.

However, at the end of 2018, many retail outlets had closed down and unemployment increased.

“Datuk Darell Leiking should stop the blame game and instead admit that it is the Warisan-led government’s weak policies and lack of direction that led to Sabah’s worst ever economic performance since they took over the state’s administration,” he said in a statement.

Yong, who served as chief minister from 1996 to 1998, said the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Sabah also reported a drastic drop of 25% to 50% in the state’s revenue.

He said Leiking should take note of such reports from the business community.

The SAPP president said the state government and the previous Pakatan Harapan administration could have mitigated the problems through the 2019 national and state Budgets, but failed to do so.

“The lame excuses had always been ‘the government has no money’, which we all know by now is simply not true.

“The Sabah treasury showed that there was a reserve of RM4 billion in 2018. Where has this RM4 billion gone?”

Leiking recently dismissed former prime minister Najib Razak’s criticism of the party’s ability to develop Sabah, saying Warisan was only in power for 26 months and it was too short a period to make any judgment.