An opposition grassroots leader wants to know why Sabah's more than RM35 billion tax-money has not been used to improve the quality of life for rural villages.
RANAU: Masidi Manjun, a senior member of Sabah Umno who is also Keranaan assemblyman has been invited by opposition State Reform Party (STAR) to some of the poorest kampungs in Ranau if he wants evidence that Ranau could be the poorest district in Sabah.
Masidi, who reacted negatively to a statement by Ranau STAR divisional head, Jalibin Paidi, that the state government ought to pay more attention to the high incidence of poverty in the district, was invited by Jalibin to visit a list of kampungs the two could go to.
Jalibin in his statement a few days ago claimed that Ranau, which is surrounded by the rural-most parts of several poverty stricken districts, could be the poorest in Sabah.
“Well Datuk, there is no reason to panic. If you want evidence, I am most grateful to invite you to join me and the local media to a trip to several kampungs in Ranau so that we could see if my words have substance or not,” said Jalibin in a statement.
He said Masidi could join him on the trip to Kg Lipasu or take the route to Kg Lipantai or even Kg Tungou so that he may see the hard evidence of poverty in Ranau.
“I may also take Masidi from Kampung Randagong to Kampung Tudan. Or we may also take the trips to Kaingaran and Kargasan or up to Tinanom for more evidence,” said Jalibin.
According to Jalibin, who is a teacher, Masidi being a veteran politician should instead of making excuses, ask the federal government why Sabah’s more than RM35 billion collected annually in taxes had not been used to improve the quality of life for those in the villages.
“Whatever happened to our money Datuk? Can’t you see how the cabotage policy has ruined and sabotaged us? Who is the culprit? Which party erected and upheld this discriminating policy?
“Look how many thousands youths from Ranau are in the peninsula seeking jobs because there are no job opportunities here in Sabah. It has been 49 years of independence and yet many more families in Ranau and I believe elsewhere in Sabah, still live in poverty.
“If Masidi takes up my offer he will see many, many Sabahan families in Ranau still collecting firewood from the forests to cook their daily meals, fetching water from the rivers, houses lit only by oil-lamp or “pelita”, dilapidated schools and balai rayas, don’t mention phone lines and electricity and roads.
“Please don’t wrong and punish the rakyat more for reporting their grievances to us the leaders. It is our duty to highlight the peoples’ problems. And highlight we shall, not only in Ranau but in other areas,” he said.
Jalibin also asked Masidi why the authorities had failed to solve various infrastructure problems which he should have seen during his visits home including a large tree that is on the verge of toppling over onto some houses in Kg Pulutan.
“Isn’t Masidi plying this road every time he goes back to his home in Ranau? If a leader can’t even handle a single rotting tree, how can he or she handle bigger issues?” he asked adding that the kampung folks were demanding an explanation for the predicament they were in despite Sabah being the richest state in terms of resources.