Sabah Economist calls to Musa to stop Fantasizing

zainal1Kota Kinabalu: “Please stop blaming the people in Sabah for the economic malaise, it is not because the people in Sabah do not have “determination”, it is because the weakness of the economic structure that puts people in Sabah in a state of hopelessness” said Sabah economist Zainnal Ajamain responding to the statements made by the Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Sri Panglima Musa Haji Aman and Datuk Wong Peng Tau, the Chairman of the newly rename Federation of Sabah Industries.

Zainnal said sometimes it is good to fantasies; it is therapeutic in small doses but to do it often however, can become a sickness and can make leaders unable to differentiate between their fantasy and people’s reality.  Using Dubai as a development model is good but the reality may give insult to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum instead of flattering him.

Firstly, His Highness is the 5th richest man in the World, whatever His Highness wants for the good of the people in Dubai he has the means and he can get it done.  Whereas Musa must get permission from Najib before he can do anything for the good of the people in Sabah.  In addition Musa must know how to beg for development funds from Kuala Lumpur, otherwise Sabah gets nothing.  There is nothing that Musa can do when the Prime Minister’s Department is given more money than Sabah and Sarawak combined;

Secondly, His Highness and his country owns the oil and gas wells, Malaya takes 95% of Sabah oil and gas and none of the wells belong to Sabah.  As the Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa has the locos standi to renegotiate or to take back what is rightfully belongs to Sabah.  Yet he chose not to rock the boat and to “play it safe” at the expense of Sabah’s development;

Thirdly, Dubai is sovereignty, its own its own law without having Kuala Lumpur making unconstitutional laws at the expense of the people in Sabah.  The establishment of the Domestic Shipping Licensing Board and the Cabotage policy serves as a good example.  There is nothing that Musa’s government in Sabah can do about it.  After 10 years being the Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa is running out of excuses for not solving this issue.

Fourthly, It appears taking Sabah’s wealth alone is not satisfying to Kuala Lumpur.  By 2015, Kuala Lumpur is imposing the Government Service Tax (GST) to Sabah and Kuala Lumpur will be squeezing to the last cent the people have.  In paragraph 24 of the Inter Government Committee (IGC) Report, the GST cannot simply be implemented in Sabah and Sarawak without the State’s consent, yet Sabah and Sarawak is silent on this issue.

Realizing all these concerns, is it practical for Sabah to dream of Dubai? Certainly it is a nice form of escapism before facing the realities sub-standard infrastructure and high cost of living.

Zainnal Ajamain

Zainnal Ajamain is an economist by profession, graduating with a Masters degree from the University of East Anglia. He has held several high ranking civil service positions in government and government think tanks and has worked as a university lecturer, senior researcher, stockbroker, economist and published several papers in international media journals. He was the co-author behind the Sabah Government’s vision for development and progress in the Sabah Development Corridor and created the first Offshore Islamic Fund in Labuan. He also held the position of Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems at the University Malaysia Sabah.  He was the Co-Founder of the United Borneo Front (UBF) and a passionate activist to abolish the Cabotage Policy.


About sifusiber
A husband & a father who wants his children to have a better future

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