MCA slams ‘insufficient time to develop Sabah’ excuse of Warisan leaders

The MCA’s Chong Sin Woon (seated, centre) with Lu Yen Tung (seated, second from left), Pamela Yong (seated, right) and other party members in Penampang today.

KOTA KINABALU: The MCA is unconvinced by the contention of former Warisan ministers in the previous federal government that the Warisan-led Sabah government had insufficient time to bring economic development to the state.

Its secretary-general Chong Sin Woon said the previous Sabah government could blame the global economy for its failures, but at the same time, other states were doing well, including some governed by Pakatan Harapan previously.

“The answers by the former tourism minister or (former international trade and industry minister) Darell Leiking that they did not have enough time is not good enough. Try giving 22 months to Barisan Nasional (BN) or Perikatan Nasional and see what happens,” Chong told reporters in Penampang, near here, today.

“Throughout the last two years, Sabah under Warisan and the federal government under PH are clearly seen to have failed in managing the country’s economy.

“If you look at Sabah under BN, it experienced rapid development and, on average, the state’s economic growth was higher than that of the country.

“In 2017, for instance, Sabah achieved an 8.2% growth, against the national growth of 5.7%.

“After the 2018 election when Warisan and PH took over, the national economic growth fell to 4.7% and Sabah’s dropped drastically to 1.5%. This was far different from the other states.”

Leiking, who is Warisan deputy president, had previously ticked off former prime minister Najib Razak who had criticised his party’s inability to develop Sabah.

The Penampang MP had said Najib should know better than just to use a one-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth to measure the performance of a government, adding the Warisan-led government was only in power for 26 months and it was too short a period to make any judgment.

He added that the state’s GDP growth for 2018 was lower due to a decline in global commodity prices brought about by external factors.

Chong, who was in town to discuss Sabah MCA’s election preparations, said Sabah missed the opportunity to bring actual development to the state despite having Leiking and Mohamadin Ketapi (former tourism minister) as members of the then PH federal Cabinet.

Meanwhile, he said the party would have a second meeting soon with Sabah BN parties and other allies to discuss seat distribution to ensure straight fights with the Warisan Plus coalition in the coming state election.

“Sabah MCA wants to focus on bread-and-butter issues. We want to help put food on the people’s table and assist in the state’s development.

“Sarawak is developing well, so there is no reason why Sabah cannot do the same.”

Chong said it was still unclear on the number of seats MCA would be contesting.

“We’ll see new faces from the party but let’s see how many seats we get first and only then we can decide who should represent us.

“We have a pool of young candidates with good educational backgrounds,” he said, adding women candidates were also being considered.

Sabah MCA chairman Lu Yen Tung said the party was eyeing the Kapayan and Luyang state seats but hoped to get more seats.

He said they were trying to get two of the new 13 seats in the state assembly to contest.

Sabah MCA Wanita chief Pamela Yong, who contested but lost the Luyang seat in the 14th general election, said she did not mind not being nominated to contest again.

“What’s important is that we need professionals in the state assembly, as politicians nowadays look at politics as their day-and-night jobs. Professionals do not need politics to survive,” she said.