Put Sarawak, Sabah on the main radar screen, Putrajaya urged

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Oct 24: Sentiments of dissatisfaction in Sarawak and Sabah, arising due to uneven development and erosion of rights during Barisan Nasional (BN)’s time, must not be ‘swept under the carpet’.

Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Kelvin Yii opined that these issues must be addressed using proactive measures, including restoring the rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as well as balanced and equitable development for both regions.

“For our country to move forward, especially in fair and equitable development between the regions in Malaysia, one issue must be addressed, especially in Sabah Sarawak. It is to unite the people in Sabah and Sarawak and to foster national integration, which is important for mutual advancement in fair and equitable manner,” he told Parliament yesterday.

“National integration and true unity can only be built through sincere recognition of the real history and status of Sabah and Sarawak in the formation of Malaysia.”

He, thus, welcomed the motion on the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, especially in assuring Sabah and Sarawak that more emphasis and priorities would be given to ensure the two regions have the potential to generate higher economic growth in line with the Third Thrusts of the 11MP towards a balanced regional development.

Dr Yii also suggested that the government review and restudy all projects exclusively for Sarawak, including those that had been stopped or delayed, because it was only candy announcement or sweet promises from the former government, especially during election season without obtaining budget approvals from Parliament, or a project awarded to contractors rather than through open tender and involved high costs.

“Although the practices by the former government were incorrect, it does not mean that the projects are not good for the people. People-friendly projects that can bring development for Sarawak should be reviewed and, if possible, continue by taking proactive steps to reduce leakages, such as through open-tender as practised by the Pakatan Harapan government,” he said.

The development in Sabah and Sarawak, he highlighted, should be emphasised and prioritised, especially in the rural and remote areas, where efforts should continue to improve connectivity and access to basic infrastructure, amenities and services, including providing adequate allocation to key sectors of education and health, particularly to improve schools and clinics in Sarawak.

“In fact, the other thrust of the 11MP is to strengthen the healthcare delivery system, especially in Sarawak. This cannot be done without bringing the basic infrastructure development to the areas,” he said.

For example, he shared that because there was no treated water supply connected to houses or instability of water supply, many Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) patients were forced to bathe in the river, and this caused patients having to return to be hospitalised.

Development in Sarawak, Dr Yii pointed out, had been lagging behind other cities in the peninsula by almost 15 years due to neglect, bad governance, corruption, leakages and irregularities of the previous government. — DayakDaily