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Open letter to Mahathir
Published on: Sunday, September 17, 2017

By Datuk John Lo
Dear YAB Tun Mahathir,

Please permit me, as an apolitical Sabahan, to write this open letter to you in regards to Sabah’s future and I greet you well.

On 20 August 2017, I expressed concerns that the opposition in Sabah has failed to put its act together in the Sunday Express. The opposition, taken in totality, is multi-spilt into blocks. Some other parties are not even in these blocks.

To the public, unity for Sabah PH is still delusive among and within member parties.

It is not my intention to highlight these problems as it might cause political offence.

But the problems are pretty obvious in the press and coffee shops.

You have expressed confidence that PH can win 50pc of Sabah’s 25 Parliament seats with the support of another Sabah based party on 6th September 2017.

Unfortunately, you have not shared the cause of your optimism with us or how this political arrangement will work out. You may well have a reason for it, which I respect.

What you have said about the feeling of Sabahan is quite correct. We have never felt Malaysians to the degree that W Malaysians have. Sabahans may have been 100pc behind you but more like 2nd class off-springs not being accorded equal treatment in many ways, especially in economic development.

Under your long and illustrious office as PM, Sabah has seen glorious days during Tan Sri Harris as CM.

Economic development was at an unprecedented pace. Sabah’s reserve was at historical height at RM2.5 billion.

Nine years of worst possible economic darkness descended during the PBS government. Sabahans have suffered, really suffered badly. Then, BN took over with your policy of revolving CMs of two years each.

This was a bad decision. The policy aggravated the economic development vacuum of the PBS government.

The bad times continued.

Significantly, the composition of Sabah’s population has also changed in dramatic ways with the influx of immigrants in large numbers during your tenure, legal or illegal is now academic.

We began to see some light when Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat took over as CM. His greatest achievement was his courageous initiative to begin to put things right in the prevailing context.

Under Tan Sri Musa, with his business background and his economic vision, Sabah’s economy is on the right track again after more than 20 years. Tourism is booming, various types of substantive investments are coming in well.

Sabah’s economy has been transformed from sole reliance on timber revenue. Now Sabah’s revenue base is well and truly diversified.

The Sabah economy has more resilience to withstand economic global turbulence.

The administration of government and GLCs is in good shape. After years of deficits, Sabah is now back to having a healthy reserve of more than RM4billion.

Tun will appreciate why many Sabahans do not wish to sink back to the bad old days again.

Sabahans including myself have seen more downs than ups in Sabah while W Malaysians have made rapid economic progress in all spheres.

A whole generation of Sabahans [1985-2003] has lost out in economic progress, with many now in retirement under extremely stressful financial circumstances. Going forward, we want to see more than political rhetoric or generalities so that our next generation will not suffer the same fate again.

We want to protect what we have got now and build our economic future from hereon.

Therefore, may I be permitted to ask Tun what have PH and this Sabah Party you mentioned, installed for Sabah in terms of economic directions, policies and implementation. To the best of my knowledge, the opposition in Sabah does not have any economic plan, much less a coherent one for Sabahans to consider and to be comfortable with.

Tun, ultimately PH’s economic plan for Sabah can only be as good as the quality of the leader chosen by PH to lead in Sabah. Who will this leader be? Does he/she have the trustworthiness, experience, expertise and charisma?

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