SEDIA a Confused Development Authority


The central theme to maintain administration of the BN government is its call to manage development for the whole rakyat.  The SEDIA Enactment passed by the State Legislative Assembly is an effort to ensure development will be able to fulfill the aspirations of the grassroots politically, socially and economically or legitimizing the Elites to put their hands in the State Coffer.

The issue before us is whether the recently passed enactment with slight changes is able to fulfill this need.  Development in this context is the process of making changes that the government will bring in terms of uplifting their standard of living.  Therefore development is to mean the process of identifying the most appropriate programs and projects that will stimulate this change.

However looking at past efforts, these process of identifying the most appropriate programs and projects already exist since the First Malaysia Plan was launched in 1965.  This process is the combined effort of the government delivery system to produce a 5 year National Development Plan (FYNDP).  Today the delivery system is reaching the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan or RMK9 in short and is poised to continue into the 10th Malaysia Plan.  This means the process has been polish and perfected for more than 50 years.

This paper attempt to examine and analyze the practical use of the enactment in the light of existing concept where development is looked at as a process making the most appropriate changes to the people in Malaysia specifically for those in Sabah.

General Assurances

The general assertion as contained in Section 3 (1) & (2) of SEDIA enactment give assurances that the existing rights, powers, functions, jurisdiction, duties and responsibilities of ministries, departments and agencies and any law governing them remain as status quo.  This means SEDIA is just duplicating existing functions of the government delivery system

In as far as the enactment is concerned any existing written law which regulate or enforce development must be read together with this enactment.  In terms of which should have precedence in planning, implementation and monitoring of development, the enactment is silent.

In the event there is a conflict, the enactment is silent as to which shall have precedence.  In this context, development process may come to a complete stop just because it is unclear how to proceed or the delivery system may just push all development function to SEDIA and wash their hands clean.

For example, by way of Chief Minister Notification in the gazette may allow Drainage and Irrigation project or projects to be undertaken by SEDIA.  At present this type of project may be undertaken by Drainage and Irrigation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, or the Jabatan Kerja Raya or the Federal Department Jabatan Perparitan dan Saliran.

In this type of project or projects land issues is one of the main considerations, structure plans under the Department of Town and Regional Planning comes next, the Lands and Survey Department, The Setiausaha Hasil Bumi, the Kampongs involved will include the Ministry and Department of Rural Development as well as the Majlis Hal Ehwal Anak Negeri.

At the District level it will include the District Office, Ketua Daerah as well as the various JKKKs and Ketua Kampongs.  How will the SEDIA mechanism mobilize these actors into playing their part will depend on how the development process is being constructed and conveyed to the various actors.

Reasons and Objectives in Establishing SEDIA

It appears that this enactment is for the establishment of a New Statutory body in Sabah called Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) with the following objective:

1.  Promoting and accelerating the development in the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) to become a leading economic region and choice destination for investment, work and living; (Section 6(1)).

2.  The priorities are to ensure social and sustainable development whilst driving economic growth in the SDC (Section 6(2)).

What and where is this Sabah Development Corridor (SDC)? The enactment is silent on this issue; there is no indication as to what or where the SDC will be located.  We can ascertain from the enactment SDC is not a development area.  The closest to identifying SDC as an area is the sentence a “leading economic region and choice destination for investment, work and living” but by whose authority will identify this region is still unclear.

Section 4 however is giving the impression that Sabah Development Corridor is actually project or projects over which SEDIA can perform its functions.  Section 4 made it absolutely clear that Sabah Development Corridor is not an area, or a region but a collection of project or projects.  Obviously, this is in conflict with the objectives of this enactment to develop an area called the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

These project or projects are determined based on the discretion of the Chief Minister.  The Chief Minister will announce these project or projects collectively as the Sabah Development Corridor by notification in the gazette.  How or who will advise the Chief Minister in identifying the project or projects is silent in the enactment.

Perhaps the Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Negeri Sabah (MTES) will make the advice to the Chief Minister.  However, the Chairman of MTES is the Chief Minister himself as well.  Therefore, it is the Chief Minister advising the Chief Minister on the type of government investment in an area called SDC.

There is also confusion in the objectives of this enactment especially as to what the SDC represents.  Does the SDC or SEDIA focuses on just physical change (as in project or projects) or giving priority to changes in the mindset and way of life of the people (various programs).  This will depend on the advisor to SEDIA.

There two main parts in the objective of this enactment. Firstly, it is a region which is an area (section 6(1)) and secondly, the priority to consider the social & sustainable development (section 6(2)).  Both however are in conflict with Section 4, which define SDC as a collection of projects or project only.

It is therefore painfully clear, the SDC enactment and SEDIA was created with the intention not to develop Sabah, but to legitimize government investment.  In simple term, the government can spend any amount of money on any project (to benefit the people or the cronies) and it is legal.

It is clear therefore SEDIA will not be planning, implementing, and monitoring programs.  The “Executing Agencies” often undertake these functions, which the SEDIA Enactment is silent.

Project or projects are physical development and programs are the non-physical portion.  For example, building a road is a project but uplifting the standard of living of the people residing along this road is a program.

Therefore, does SEDIA really know what they are suppose to be doing? Have they identified which direction Sabah should be focusing?  The RM105 billion is a lot of money, have SEDIA identified where the money is coming from?

There is major confusion in the establishment of SEDIA, yet this is the leading authority in developing Sabah.  Is there any hope for Sabah in the RMK10?

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About gurkahsiber
I like to read, I like to think and I like to write

12 Responses to SEDIA a Confused Development Authority

  1. janganbah1 says:

    You dont have any confidence in the people running SEDIA. Perhaps you can list their names and CV’s and let us judge it??

  2. kepayan10 says:

    hey gurkasiber, pls explain y u think SEDIA is a joke at federal level??

    • gurkahsiber says:

      It is very simple really, when it comes to the development process, it is the domain of PTD officers. There is no PTD officer in SEDIA. Secondly, the Federal side have more data on Sabah than SEDIA. Thirdly, remember the Labs they created? well the result of the Labs until today is not made public. The reason, submission for RMK10 already over yet Sabah is still busy with the Lab. So what is it that they submitted to KL? A shopping list? when you submit a shopping list, KL will accept, but will the money be forthcoming? Therefore all that we submit to KL is just a big joke.

      You have people in SEDIA who has never made a submission saying its easy. It is easy to prepare a list, try defend it. So if it is that easy, SEDIA should be giving out the list for RMK10 projects which have been approved so that the whole of Sabah can help to monitor its implementation.

  3. vincentgoh75 says:

    This is a revelation, the Sabah state government purposely make a statutory body to legitimately rob the state coffer? If I am not mistaken, Jimmy Wong of Tawau once warn in the State Legislative Assembly that the statutory body may be abused as a big vacuum cleaner?

    • gurkahsiber says:

      We believe Jimmy Wong of Tawau concern was genuine. We think the whole enactment was not constructed properly. It was as if the enactment was drafted by a legal person who has no clue what economics is all about and what development process is all about. The possibility of this enactment being abuse is very high. In as it is now, as far as money for development is concern it does not belong to the Sabah, it belongs to SEDIA and they can do anything they like. They can even build a chicken coop for RM1 million and it is all legal – through open tender which they can manipulate. Sabah has engineers house in a big building in Sembulan which is not being used. They prefer to use the Office at jalan lintas.

      • vincentgoh75 says:

        Wait a darn minute, you mean to say that the state government is doing all this? and the State Legislative Assembly approve it? It is legitimising corruptions? what kind of state government do we have here?

        • gurkahsiber says:

          To be honest to you, this is the best kind of State government. The people through the State Legislative Assembly has given some of the people in the government a “Blank Cheque”. Just pray you have an honest and trustworthy people running the show. Otherwise compared to Greece Sabah is just small change.

  4. analyst06 says:

    I am a bit confused here, if all the economic planning was done successfully. What was the reason for Sabah to establish SEDIA and why are you saying that SEDIA is a confused development authority?

    • gurkahsiber says:

      SEDIA was suppose to implement SDC, but SDC covers the whole state meaning any form of development. This is in conflict with the Federal process, that is why some Federal Ministry is by-passing SEDIA to implement their project in Sabah. In addition, SDC was Badawi creature not Najib which means SEDIA is now irrelevant. The issue is whether SEDIA will cover all the RMK’s projects or just state funded projects because who is SEDIA to tell Federal EPU what Sabah wants. The Federal EPU has more data and more experience on Sabah than SEDIA. This is where SEDIA is actually a confused authority. It does not seems to know its roles and function in the overall Malaysia Development Process.

      • analyst06 says:

        Surely we have qualified and experience people working in SEDIA, they should know about all these and take the necessary action to ensure Sabah is not left out in the overall National Development. I just cannot believe the stupidity of the state government.

        • gurkahsiber says:

          My dear, don’t take my word for it. The SEDIA office is at jalan Lintas. You pass the office everyday on your way to work. Perhaps one of these days you can stop over and take a look for yourself. Pick up any name that is working for SEDIA, it is easy to list down their CV. Then perhaps the whole of Sabah can judge for themselves whether the people there have what it takes to plan, implement and monitor state development. If I say SEDIA is a joke at the Federal level, you may say I am exaggerating. So I won’t say it.

    • sifusiber says:

      Prior to 1986, development machinery in Sabah was similar to those in Malaya. During the PBS government they change everything. In response the Federal government establish JPPS. Since 1994 nothing was done to realigned the development machinery. There was talk about establishing Regional Development Authority there was a lot of public outcry because it is Federal body. Then the Corridor idea took root. It covers the whole state and depend on Federal investment. This give birth to SEDIA. A lot of people think the SEDIA Enactment is a DEVELOPMENT ENACTMENT in reality it is just like any other Enactment such as MUIS, SEDCO ect.
      So what is SEDIA, it is a body given blanket power over projects in Sabah but that depends whether the Federal government is giving them the development money.

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