Speech by Lim Kit Siang at Sabah Pakatan Rakyat Joint Chinese New Year Open House at Kin Kwok Chinese Secondary School Hall, Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, 28th February 2010:
Mark 50th anniversary of Malaysia with commission of inquiry on how the dreams and aspirations of Sabahans in forming Malaysia had been betrayed in past five decades
The Joint Chinese New Year Open House by Sabah Pakatan Rakyat in Kota Kinabalu today is most significant and historic, sending out a clear and unmistakable message that Pakatan Rakyat in Sabah will not repeat the mistakes of the 2008 general elections and we will ensure that the next general elections will see a one-to-one fight between the Pakatan Rakyat and the Barisan Nasional in Sabah.
With the SAPP President, Datuk Yong Teck Lee as our guest here, let me say that we will like to see the one-to-one fight with the Barisan Nasional in Sabah in the next general elections the most unique and important feature in the next Sabah general elections, embracing SAPP also.
The high-spirited overflowing capacity crowd at today’s Joint Pakatan Rakyat Chinese New Year Open House is more than a Chinese New Year reception. It is a potent sign of the changing and challenging times in Sabah and Malaysia – as it is as rousing and inspiring as any climax election rally.
Let us today from Kota Kinabalu raise a political whirlwind to bring about change in Sabah and Malaysia in the next general elections to elect a Pakatan Rakyat Chief Minister in Sabah and a Pakatan Rakyat Prime Minister in Putrajaya.
My visit to Kota Belud and Tuaran yesterday has left me with one abiding impression – how the dreams of Sabahans in forming Malaysia had been betrayed in the past five decades.
In Kota Belud, 800 students and 54 teachers of SMK Tambulion have been suffering daily from the worst and most disgraceful 8km road which covered them in dust, turning them into orang putih, an ordeal which will last another year or two, while Tuaran competes for a place in the Book of Records with a hospital for three decades without a bed!
Bapa Malaysia and Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman made the historic proposal for the formation of Malaysia comprising Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore at a speech to the Singapore Foreign Correspondents’ Club on 27th May 1961.
Sabah, together with Sarawak, will be commemorating their 50 years of Malaysian nationhood in another three years in 2013.
The people of Sabah were promised progress and development, at least to the level achieved by the Peninsular states.
Have these promises to Sabah been fulfilled in the past five decades? The answers must be a loud No.
From being a very rich state especially in terms of natural resources, the people of Sabah are now among the poorest in Malaysia with the worst poverty rate!
Where have all the wealth of Sabah gone to in the past five decades?
After nearly five decades, Sabah even lack the most basic infrastructures to be found in the rest of Malaysia like regular electricity supply, uninterrupted piped water and good roads and bridges.
This year, the people of Tawau celebrated Chinese New Year’s Eve in darkness because of power blackout – not a rare occurrence but a regular ordeal to the people of Tawau, Sandakan, Lahat Datuk and most parts of Sabah. The provision of piped water is in constant state of crisis. The state of the roads and bridges in Sabah are a scandal.
The people of Sabah are entitled to ask why with Sabah’s immense wealth, they cannot enjoy the basic infrastructures that are taken for granted in other states – why, for instance, Sabahans must suffer constant power black-outs which are unheard of in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Alor Star, Ipoh, Seremban, Malacca, Johore Bahru, Kuantan, Kota Bahru, Kuala Terengganu – even in Kuching, Sibu, Miri?
After Tunku Abdul Rahman’s historic proposal for the formation of Malaysia in May 1961, various consultations were conducted after various objections internally as well as from foreign powers, even involving the United Nations.
There was a Cobbold Commission which conducted a survey of the people in Sabah and Sarawak to ascertain the views on the formation of Malaysia.
I think there is no more meaningful manner for Sabah and Sarawak to mark their 50 years of Malaysian nationhood than to conduct a comprehensive review of the successes and failures in all aspects of development in these two states in the past five decades with feedback from the people Sabah and Sarawak.
For Sabah, if there cannot be a Royal Commission of Inquiry, then I suggest that Pakatan Rakyat conduct a commission of inquiry in all the 25 parliamentary and 60 state assembly seats in Sabah to allow Sabahans, regardless of race, religion or region to speak their minds on how the dreams and aspirations of Sabahans in Malaysia had been betrayed in the past five decades.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor