Comment on Harris’ statement on review of Sabah policies

By DAP Secretary-General, Member of Parliament for Petaling, and Malacca State Assemblyman for Kubu, Lim Kit Siang, on Monday, July 17 1978:

Comment on Harris’ statement on review of Sabah policies

The Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh, said after the Sabah electon results that the Sabah State Government would immediately carry cut a review of all its policies to bring them in line with the present political situation in Sabah.

I do not know whether this is meant to be a sincere and democratic response to the voter’s popular will as expressed on Saturday’s election results, or whether it it meant to be a threat and intimidation.

If it is the former, I welcome Datuk Harris Salleh’s statement, for the purpose of elections is to give the people an opportunity to express their views about government policies. In Sabah, the people of Sandakan on behalf of a significant section of Sabahans have spoken, and a government which claims to be democratic should respond to such expressions of popular will by making changes in policies as desired by the people.

In this regard, I call on Datuk Harris Salleh and the Berjaya Sabah Government to review the following policies and problems and to make policy changes to bring government action in line with public demand:

1. Refugees from Southern Philippines: The Government should take immediate steps to stop the inflow of refugees of illegal immigrants from Southern Philippines. The big refugee population in Sabah has created grave socio-economic problems for the people of Sabah of all racial groups, whether Kadazans, Chinese or Malays. It has also created a grave law-and-order problem in Sabah, with great increase and incidence of petty thieveries, robberies and even murder.

2. High cost of Living in Sabah: Immediate and effective government action must be taken to deal with the problem of the high cost of living in Sabah, which has made the livelihood of the low income groups a great burden.

3. Elimination of Corruption: Although Berjaya government campaigned on a platform of a clean and honest government, the problemof corruption in Sabah under the Berjaya government, Datuk Harris Salleh and his Ministers must set an example by publicly declaring their assets. Recently, Datuk Harris Salleh was cited in a United States Securities Commission suit mentioning him as receiving kickbacks in the Sabah government purchase of two Grunman executive jets. Datuk Harris Salleh must invite an open inwuiry to completely clear his name. the DAP is prepared to undertake this open inwuiry to cleat his name if there is no truth in the U.S.Securities Commission regerence.

4. To restore democracy: Datuk Harris Salleh should honour the pledge of Berjaya founders like Tun Fuad and Datuk Peter Mojuntin to restore democracy to Sabah – and he should immediately lift the undemocratic ban on me and Sdr. Lee Lam Thye from entering Sabah to carry out legitimate political activities.

5. Radio and TV Sabah: Datuk Harris Salleh and the Berjaya Government should immediately honour the pledge by Berjaya in 1976 election to fully restore Chinese-language programme to Radio and to introduce Chinese language programmes over TV Sabah.