NEW FEDERALISM, NEW DEAL

Press Statement by DAP Sabah on 30 August 2016:

BY ADMIN.

PICTURE SHOW..... Lim Kit Siang speaking at Press Conference 

BASED  on the latest official statistics, the BN Government claimed that poverty in Malaysia has almost been eliminated. As of 2015, only 0.6% of households in Malaysia were below the official poverty line (defined as households earning less than RM1,180 for Sabah). Unfortunately, however, most of the poor households in Malaysia are Sabahans.

The Statistics Department’s figure showed that 50% of workers in Sabah earned less than RM1,100 per month, which is RM500 less than the national average. This is barely above the statutory minimum monthly wage fixed at RM920. Clearly, Sabahans earned a lot less than ordinary Malaysian workers elsewhere in Peninsula Malaysiaa and Sarawak. The hardships were compounded by expensive goods and costs of living that remains the highest in Malaysia.

Ordinary Sabahans, up to 500,000 households in total, are finding it difficult to make ends meet every month. This cannot be a proud achievement as we approached the 53rd year of forming Malaysia.

We in the DAP are keenly aware of the economic difficulties and stress faced by the rakyat in Sabah. The problems plaguing Sabah are symptoms of a flawed and ailing federation, Malaysia to which our forefathers subscribed to 53 years ago in Kuala Lumpur. For all the inequalities in wealth and power between East and West Malaysia, Sabahans generally feel disappointed and deprived.

Some of these negative feelings evolved into “anti-Malaysia / anti-Semenanjung” sentiments. In DAP, we remind ourselves to deal with the problems with empathy and a deep sense of duty to untangle its root causes and to eventually chart a new path for a better Sabah and Malaysia.

As a party of ideas and ideals, the DAP has to be prepared to lead the debate on how to correct the flawed and ailing federal political system in Malaysia. Our relationship with Putrajaya has to change from being a subservient ‘state’ to being genuine equal partner which was promised to our forefathers at Independence. Only with a reformed and working federation could Sabah’s development hurdles be overcome.

The wellbeing of Sabahans hinges upon political reforms that must include devolution of power from Putrajaya.

To this end, the DAP leaders met in Kota Kinabalu from 29th to 30th August 2016 to discuss about policy advocacies and upcoming political campaigns. Our aim was to keep the pressure on the ruling party Barisan Nasional by advocating for new policies in addressing the systemic imbalance and inequalities across the South China Sea.

The discussion was led by the Sabah DAP Chairman Stephen Wong (MP for Sandakan) and the participants include about 20 Sabahan DAP grass root activists as well as prominent leaders from Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia.

Our discussion has touched upon the following points:
1. The DAP must pay attention to economic hardships faced by ordinary people. We have to advocate for policy alternatives that will solve people’s problems. To deal with especially the injustices and imbalances between East and West Malaysia, how do we fight for more power and resources to be decentralized away from to the local and state government in Sabah.
2. The DAP machinery to work harder on the ground to improve constituency services, build local networks and to understand and speak for ordinary citizens.
3. The DAP to overcome the baggage of identity politics, getting away from being seen as an “Anti-Malay”, Anti-Islam” or often heard in Sabah, West-Malaysian party. We strive to be an inclusive party for all. We uphold Sabahan’s pride and honor. We respect Sabah’s right and we want to build a better Sabah through constructive reforms in federal government.
4. The DAP to bring forth the concept “New Federalism, New Deal” that aims to make Sabah and Sarawak as genuine equal partners with Peninsula Malaysia in a healthy and working federation that empower Sabah to develop and thrive on our own terms.
5. Under the new framework of a New Federation, Sabah will enjoy a wide range of autonomy in deciding matters that are best dealt with at the local and state level including policing, health care, education, transport, commerce, telecommunications, etc.
6. The DAP to continue uphold native rights especially on native customary land rights so as to secure sustainable livelihood for the native communities who in many cases were unduly pressured to give up their land and culture.
7. The DAP to stand firm behind the principles of the Batu Sumpah oaths, including freedom of religion, state power over land matters and commitment to respect the adat and culture of the native people of Sabah; and
8. The DAP to rethink our own party organisations and mechanisms so that it can epitomize a functional federalism in promoting the spirit of consensus building and equal partnerships.
DAP leaders who attend this forum:
DAP Parliamentary Leader-cum-MP Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang
DAP Sabah Chairman-cum-MP Sandakan Stephen Wong Tien Fatt
DAP Sabah Advisor-cum-MP Kota Kinabalu Jimmy Wong Sze Phin
DAP National Political Education Director-cum-MP Kluang Liew Chin Tong
DAP Sarawak Chairman-cum-MP Bandar Kuching Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Sarawak Political Education Director-cum-MP Sibu Oscar Ling
DAP Sabah Election Campaign Director-cum-Sri Tanjong Assemblyman Chan Foong Hin