- Wartawan Nabalu News
Aspirations of Sabahan youths towards Malaysia
16 Sept 2021
By Ilona Andrew and Jacquline Ebit
KOTA KINABALU: Today marks the second year that Malaysians are commemorating Malaysia Day - an important historical event where former British colony of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, joined the Federation of Malaya to create the Malaysian Federation - while grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Looking back to a year ago, it seemed like we were winning the war when daily numbers were down to single digits. Unfortunately, today, confirmed nationwide infections have breached the two million marks with an average of 15,000 cases reported daily.
In a span of one year, Malaysians have witnessed and waded through so many hullabaloos such as health, economic and political crises, all at once, while the pandemic has gone more raging than ever before.
As the Malaysia federation commemorates its 58th establishment today, Malaysians continue to cross their fingers in hope that soon, the pandemic will be a thing in the past.
And despite all the hiccups that the country has faced, Sabahan youths are optimistic that Malaysia will one day stand up much stronger and that national development can be implemented without a hitch, especially in Sabah.
For 28-year-old Kevin Larson Galono, he aspires to see more Sabahan leaders become important policymakers of the country in the Malaysian Cabinet.
He said, more Sabahan leaders deserve the front rows as the state has been contributing towards the national development in great measures.
It must be mutually agreed that the state should be acknowledged as a major contributor to Malaysia’s economy, he added.
“The state’s contributions, in return, should be celebrated with development funds and modernisations that are equal to ones that are received by other states. In fact, there should be more for Sabah in accordance with its size and population.
“In my opinion, Sabah has not achieved the progress that is in line with Malaysia’s vision. In fact, Sabah lags so much behind in terms of its development compared to other states,” said the substitute teacher who hails from Kg Pahu, Tuaran.
Kevin explained to Nabalu News that Sabah has been treated very unfairly as can be seen through its underdeveloped standard facilities that bear the age of at least 20 years behind compared to other states.
He expressed worry that the young generation in Sabah would continue to be provided with low technology development in the coming years while other states embrace modernisation.
“My suggestion is for Sabah to be the first capital in technology development. The state should be given priority in this area as it is still largely contributing to the national economy.
“If Sabah has nothing else to contribute in the future, what will we be getting then? Sabahans are getting smarter and the state’s economy is rapidly growing, but it will lose everything if it continues to be underdeveloped while high-ranking positions continue to be monopolised (by other states),” he asserted.
Meanwhile, a 35-year-old doctorate student emphasised the prosperity of the economy, political stability as well as the return of foreign investors post-pandemic to help strengthen the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate in the country, as his aspirations for a better Sabah.
Adi Jafar also hoped that the people’s economy can be further enhanced through more effective price control of goods, improved employment opportunities and conducive work environments, as well as better-planned urban constructions, especially in rural areas.
“It is also my sincere hope that some special policy formulations be discussed, amended and gazetted promptly. Among the policies and plans that need to be streamlined are ones related to housing or secondary town development in Sabah. The unaffordable prices of houses have made the community’s productivity in Sabah less encouraging.
“I also hope that the 2022 Sabah Budget will include financial stimulus or tax relied incentives for traders, including those involved in the gig economy, as they have been severely affected by the pandemic,” he said.
Apart from that, Adi noted that his great hope also lies with government agriculture and livestock agencies in improving policies to ensure food security in the state.
“The pandemic through the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) saw a lot of agricultural and food supply wastages. Such matters should be taken into account and improved,” he added.
The State Government should prioritise the welfare of Sabahans as well as domestic development and not just the interest of political parties, Richard Tan warned.
The 26-year-old reckoned that the high poverty rate in the state, despite being endowed with abundant natural resources, reflects the failure of state leaders in terms of management and administration.
“With the rate of hardcore poor and GDP per capita below average, Sabah is undeniably still far from reaching the status of a developed state. In fact, Sabah is one of the poorest states in Malaysia.
“The people of Sabah must be united when choosing leaders – based on their high leadership qualities and integrity. We must change the culture of electing leaders based on political parties.
“In addition to that, the State Government should also emphasise the importance of quality and relevance of education system by providing basic infrastructure and internet network, especially among rural communities.”
Another fellow Sabahan youth that wishes to see Sabah driven in a better direction in various aspects is one Jemmy Amanda Sipatau from Kota Marudu.