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Radzi's statement reflects federal govt's lackadaisical attitude on Sabah educational development

18 July 2022

The statement by the education minister Radzi Jidin in Beluran recently that problems with land ownership are holding back efforts to improve or repair schools in certain states is another example of the federal government's lackadaisical attitude towards educational development in those states

He said Sabah together with Sarawak and the Felda settlements, were among those where ownership of the land on which schools are situated has not been transferred to the federal government.

This statement is basically saying that the federal government will not help unless and until these relevant land are first transferred to them. This is tantamount to the federal government holding Sabah for ransom.

It begs the question where lies the priority of the federal government. Land ownership or education for our children.

Sabah has the biggest number of population who are suffering from poverty in the country. According to the Statistic Department in 2020 the percentage of the abject poor in Sabah was 25.3% compared to 8.4% at national level. Of the 10 poorest districts in Malaysia identified under the 12th Malaysia Plan, eight are in Sabah which are Kudat, Pitas, Kota Marudu, Beluran, Tongod, Telupid, Nabawan and Kota Belud.

It is a fact world over that education is the main answer towards eradicating poverty. How can proper and sufficient education be done if Sabah has the biggest number of delipidated schools. According to a statement by the Deputy Education II this year, Sabah has 270 delipidated schools. And only 31 are approved for upgrading for the period 2016 to 2020.

Malaysia is now entering the 60th year of its existence since it was formed by the joining together of Sabah, Sarawak and the Federated States of Malaya. As one of the founder of Malaysia, why is Sabah still not as developed as the other 2 regions.

As a Sabahan I cannot help but be outraged by the statement by the Education Minister who is more interested with federal land ownership rather than the wellbeing and education of our children.

If the federal government is incapable of looking after education in Sabah, provide the funds and give Sabah the power & autonomy to oversee education in this region. Enough with federal lip service and delaying tactics in developing Sabah.

Why is the Minister being so legalistic? If he wants to be legalistic, why is the federal government completely ignoring it's constitutional obligation under Article 112 C & D and the 10th schedule of the Malaysian Constitution to pay back to Sabah, 40% of all yearly revenues collected from Sabah.

If the federal government pays the arrears and what is due since late 1970s, that would go a long way in improving & upgrading schools in Sabah.

When Malaysia was formed, the hope of Sabah and its people was that our development and socio-economic growth would eventually be on par with our 2 other counterparts. However it has been nearly 60 years now and our beloved Sabah is still found wanting and the majority of its people are still suffering.

Despite being rich with our Mount Kinabalu and our natural resources like our jungle, our minerals, our flora & fauna and our marine lives. Despite being rich with raw materials like oil & gas, copper, gold, coal and limestone. Despite being the biggest producer of palm oil. Why are there still so many fundamental needs in Sabah that are unfulfilled?

Instead we have the biggest number of poor, the biggest number of unemployed, the biggest need for basic infrastructure, the most challenged manufacturing sector, the lowest rate of GDP, the worst broadband connectivity and the "mother of all problems", the illegal immigrants problem. In the forefront of all this are federal ministers making excuses after excuses despite making so many pledges and promises during general elections.

United Progressive Kinabalu Organization (UPKO) Deputy President , Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin

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