Impian Sabah – like Impian Sarawak is an integral part of DAP’s commitment in pursuit of the Malaysian Dream to create a Malaysia for all Malaysians

In the 13th General Election, Pakatan Rakyat had targetted 33 seats from the 3 UMNO-BN “fixed deposit” states of Johor, Sarawak and Sabah. We failed to achieve our targets and won only 14 seats, with Sabah winning the least – 3 parliamentary seats – Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Penampang.

We were however able to “destroy” the “fixed deposit” moniker for Johor and Sarawak, by increasing our votes received significantly. For Johor, Pakatan Rakyat was able to increase our popular votes by 10.3% to 45%, while for Sarawak, we increased by 8.9% to 37.3%.

However, for Sabah, we were only able to increase our votes by 3.4% to 35.9%.

Hence it is undeniable that Pakatan Rakyat must pull out all stops to increase our electoral support in the state with 26 parliamentary seats (including Labuan).

Sabah should logically be the state most ripe for change given the degree of corruption and mismanagement, the poverty level and the lack of employment opportunities as well as the infiltration of illegal immigrants with the associated social and security problems.

Despite being among the richest state in natural resources, as well as being the richest state per capita income in the early 1970s, Sabah is now the state with the highest poverty rates in the entire country. As late as 2010, 43% of Sabahan households do not have access to clean or treated water while nearly 20% do not have access to electricity.

However despite the marginalisation of Sabahans and the pilferage of the state’s wealth and resources by the Barisan Nasional government, Sabah remains firmly in the hands of UMNO-BN. Pakatan Rakyat should not remain despondent over the GE13 outcome, but instead double or triple up our efforts to penetrate rural Sabah. We should win the hearts of Sabahans by proving our sincerity and commitment to the rural villagers, and demonstrating by deeds that we will not forsake their rights and needs.

There is no better way than to go to the ground to ease the burden of these marginalised villagers living in poverty and destitution. Hence there is no better time to launch “Impian Sabah” to bring “Malaysian Dream Agents” into various Sabah villages to make a real difference to the villagers’ lives.

The choice delivering a gravity-feed water system to Kampung Samaritan Laut located in the Kota Marudu parliamentary constituency is of great significance as it is the seat held by Dr Maximus Ongkili, Deputy President of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) as well as ironically, the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water.

More critically, Dr Ongkili won Kota Marudu with a majority of only 842 votes after garnering 15,168 votes in a four-cornered fight. Mahap obtained 14,326 votes, STAR candidate Majamis Timbong (2,228 votes) while Yuntau alias Kuntau Kolod (SAPP) only managed 444 votes. If not for the splitting of votes with STAR, Pakatan Rakyat would have won the seat. Hence every effort must be made in these marginal seats so as to ensure that Pakatan Rakyat will win these seats in the next General Election.

Impian Sabah will show Sabahans, and Malaysians throughout the country that the DAP is not just a party that talks, but is a party that will take all necessary actions to improve the livelihood of the people, especially the oppressed. Together with the on-going Impian Sarawak campaign, their success in meeting the urgent needs of the people will go a long way not only towards winning Putrajaya, but to fulfill the Malaysian Dream, a plural society where all her citizens are united as one people, rising above their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences as the common grounds binding them as one citizenship exceed the differences that divide them because of their ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural divisions.

Impian Sabah – like Impian Sarawak – is an integral part of DAP’s commitment in pursuit of the Malaysian Dream to create a Malaysia for all Malaysians.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah