If Barisan Nasional fulfils its election promise in Sabah to raise its per capita income to RM10,000 in year 2,000, Sabah will overtake Penang in six years although Penang’s present per capita income is about twice that of Sabah

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Tanjong 3 dinner-ceramah held at Chai Lena Park, Penang on Friday, 25th March 1994 at 8 pm

If Barisan Nasional fulfils its election promise in Sabah to raise its per capita income to RM10,000 in year 2,000, Sabah will overtake Penang in six years although Penang’s present per capita income is about twice that of Sabah

The international reputation of Malaysia had recently been tarnished by two undemocratic developments in Sabah:

Firstly, the 36-hour wait outside the Sabah Istana by Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan to be sworn in as Sabah Chief Minister, although he had won a clear-cut majority in the Sabah state general elections on February 18-19; and

Secondly, the toppling of the PBS government by the Barisan Nasional on March 18, not through the verdict of the voters of Sabah, but because of the open selling and bidding of elected representatives in the political marketplace.

All decent and self-respecting Malaysians must be thoroughly ashamed at the opportunistic, unprincipled and undemocratic politics in Sabah which led to the collapse of the nine-year PBS Government of Joseph Pairin.

The toppling of the PBS State Government of Joseph Pairin by unprincipled, unethical and undemocratic means violate two of the nine strategic challenges which the Prime Minister. Datuk Seri Dr, Mahathir Mohamed had admitted must be overcome if Malaysia is to succeed in realising its Vision 2020 of a united and fully developed nation.

These two strategic challenges are:

* establishing a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and imbued with the highest of ethical standards; and

* fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practising a form of mature consensual community oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries.

What strong religious and spiritual values and high ethical standards are we trying to imbue when money politics reign supreme in Sabah, where elected representatives could be bought and sold like commodities and money are literally thrown to voters from helicopters during general elections?

The money politics in Sabah in the past two months have corrupted a whole generation of young Sabahans about the greater power of money politics over the voice of the people.

Is this the model of ‘democracy in developing countries’ Malaysia is seriously holding itself out to the world?

I seldom agree with Tun Mustapha, but I absolutely agree with him when he said yesterday that what had happened in Sabah was nothing less than a ‘coup against democracy’.

Serious-minded Malaysians must ponder whether this is the direction we want our country and. political system to take, where finally, money is the ‘be-all and end-all’ of politics: to use politics to amass money, and to use money to further consoli¬date political power!

There are many lessons Malaysians can learn from the recent Sabah state, general elections and the ‘coup’ resulting in the collapse of Joseph Pairin and PBS State Government.

One of the lessons is that, may be the only way to get the Barisan Nasional to give special attention to a state is to let it, lose power.

For instance, in its efforts to re-capture, power in Sabah, the Barisan Nasional Federal Government has made promises which it had never made in Peninsular Malaysia – as in the promise to allocate RM5 million for the nine Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Sabah.

In fact, the PBS State Government make regular financial allocations to the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools and the Chinese primary schools – which has not been done in Pe-nang, although it has a Chinese Chief Minister What is most ironical is that Dr. Koh Tsu Koon could go to Sabah to campaign against Joseph Pairin and PBS when Tsu Koon’s Government had not done what PBS Government had done in Sabah as far as assistance to Chinese schools is concerned.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, hsve declared after the swearing-in of Tan Sri Sankaran Dandai as Sabah Chief Minister that the Barisan Nasional would fulfil all its election promises in Sabah.

One such Barisan Nasional promise is to raise Sabah’s per capita income from RM3,600 at present to RM10,000 in the year 2,000.

If the Barisan Nasional fulfils this election promise, this means that in six year’s time in 2,000, Sabah will overtake Penang in per capita income although Penang’s present per capita, income is about twice that of Sabah, In the year 2,000, Penang’s per capita income is projected to be in the region of RM8,300 a far cry from the RM10,000 target for Sabah!

This is most shocking, as it not only reflect poorly on Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the Penang State Government, but must, raise the question whether on all counts, it is not better for for the people of Penang to reject the present Penang State Government and Chief Minister in the next general elections.

Can Tsu Koon explain why Penang will slip behind so badly in economic growth and development in the next six years, that Sabah would not only be able to catch with Penang’s per capita income – from Sabah RM3,600 as compared to Penang RM6,700 for 1993 – but will also leave Penang far behind!