CONTEMPORARY MALAYSIA

con·tem·po·rar·y - Modern times in its generic sense, living, occurring, or existing, at the same time; often also used as a synonym for "modern" Ma·lay·sia - A country of southeast Asia consisting of the southern Malay Peninsula and the northern part of the island of Borneo.

Taken from The Edge Daily

KUALA LUMPUR: Another Barisan Nasional member of parliament from Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Ghapur Salleh (Kalabakan-BN), has called for more funds to be channelled to the state by increasing its oil royalty to 20% from the current 5%.

“We are getting only 5% of oil royalty or RM500 million a year. I want to ask the federal government to give Sabah 20% or RM2 billion a year. With this, we can solve a lot of problems in Sabah and it is not as if we want to pocket all of the money ourselves,” he said.

Datuk Anifah Aman (Kimanis-BN) had last week urged the federal government to review Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) oil agreement with the state.

Abdul Ghapur, who resigned as deputy minister of natural resources and environment last month, said the additional money from the oil royalty would help alleviate poverty in the state. “The poverty level in Sabah is 24% while it is only 3% in Peninsula.”

And the school children in the states were not getting proper food, he said. “The food provided to them probably cost around 30 sen per pupil, which is fitting for cats.”

“We also want to know why the government keeps issuing the IMM13. The IMM13 is for those who come from war torn countries. Half of them are Sabah residents now,” said Abdul Ghapur.

He said a “political tsunami” may reach Sabah if the state’s grievances were not addressed. BN MPs from Sabah could form a new party and decide later whether to stay in the Barisan Nasional or join the Opposition camp, he added.

Asked if he had met up with Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Abdul Ghapur said “no” but added he would not know if other MPs from the state had.

Debating the motion of thanks on the royal address, he said it was Sabah and Sarawak that saved the federal government from falling to the Opposition, but Sabah were only given three minor Cabinet portfolios.

Presently, Sabah’s Datuk Shafie Apdal is the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok is Minister in Prime Minister’s Department while Datuk Maximus Ongkili holds the Science, Technology and Innovation portfolio.

“If it is not for the number of MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, the Opposition would have formed the government. A hundred and forty seats minus the 54 seats from Sabah and Sarawak, (meant) there would not even be enough to form a simple majority,” he said.

He pointed out that one particular state had seven ministers while one state that fell to the Opposition was given four important portfolios.

Calling for a change in the Cabinet, Abdul Ghapur revealed that he did not accept the deputy ministerial post offered to him as he considered it “insulting”.

On Anifah’s remark that Sabah BN MPs could move to a terrace house (meaning the Opposition) from a bungalow (BN) if there was no room for them in the bigger house, he said: “Don’t say moving to a terrace house, we are even willing to move to a kampung house.”

Highlighting Sabah’s underdevelopment, Abdul Ghapur said some people in Sabah still lived in houses with attap walls but he could not see such houses in the peninsula. Even the street lamps in town areas such as Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan did not function properly, he said.

“When we asked for an allocation of RM20 million to RM30 million, there was no allocation. Yet, the government could announce billions of ringgit for projects in the peninsula,” he added.

When asked whether the federal government should cancel the allocation for Penang and divert them to Sabah, Abdul Ghapur said the government did not have to resort to this as it could allocate “special projects” for Sabah.

He explained that tourism could become a thriving industry for Sabah but many tourists did not go to the state due to the lack of infrastructure.

Urging the government to give a bigger allocation to Sabah, he said it would take 10 hours to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau by road compared to four hours for a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

“If we require RM10 billion, give RM10 billion,” Abdul Ghapur added.