Shafie Apdal, the Minister of Rural Development is very much jealous of his counterpart in Sabah, Musa aman and is repeatedly attacking Musa and opposing his candidature for the continuation as Chief Minister. Shafie was responsible for undermining Musa Aman’s leadership by instigating Lajim Okim to call for the removal of Musa as chief minister by appeasing Lajim with a RM150 million road project from his Rural Ministry. Shafie also helped form KDM Malaysia to divide the Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) community, politically weakening Pairin Kitingan and PBS, hence forming a wedge between Pairin and Musa. Now, Shafie Apdal is masterminding the return of Yong Teck Lee (SAPP) into the BN fold and claiming he has the tacit approval of Najib Tun Razak to negotiate the return, despite word of the Sabah BN components distrusting Yong. Yong Teck Lee, Shafie Apdal and Joseph Ambrose Lee were partners in crime, taking over the RM30-billion timber wealth of Yayasan Sabah through share-swap, in a time when Yong Teck Lee was Sabah chief Minister and Shafie Apdal was Directer of Yayasan Sabah.
Like it or not, it was Musa Aman who was the then state finance minister who rejected this share-swap deal, saving Yayasan Sabah from a pending doom. Shafie Apdal’s intention of bringing Yong Teck Lee back into BN will weaken Musa Aman’s leadership among BN followers in Sabah due to Musa and Yong’s bitter relationship. At this moment of time Musa Aman and all the other BN component parties have got a fantastic working relationship.
SO the big question is: Why is Shafie so jealous of Musa Aman?
Obviously Shafie dreams of being the top dog, for sure, but I firmly see it envy forming due to Musa’s many achievements which has catapulted Sabah to the top position among the States in Malaysia.
It is wrong to say that Sabah has registered improvement in one or two areas. In fact there is no area in which Sabah has not progressed. Education, law and order, good environmental practices, forest protection, clean water supply, electricity, agriculture, industrial progress, urban development, rural development, exports, solution to Sabah’s illegal immigrant problem, increase for oil royalty – in whatever angle you look at, Sabah attracts deeper attention in every area, registering a surplus in many areas. But Sabah is not satisfied with this achievement. It is not resting on its laurels but is focusing on earning more surpluses. The reason for this attitude is that Sabah does not think only about itself. It thinks for the whole of Malaysia. Sabah is the locomotive engine of Malaysia and is keen to contribute more for Malaysia’s growth.
When Sabah attained independence in 1963, Malaysia was born. Right from independence in 1963 to 1985, Alliance- Barisan National ruled Sabah. After 1985, Datuk Harris Salleh was defeated, Pairin Kitingan from Party Bersatu Sabah became the Chief Minister. But even at that time Sabah was ruled by the Barisan National until 1986 when PBS pulled out from BN. In 1994, BN wrested control of the power from PBS when Lajim defected from Parti Bersatu Sabah which won the Sabah election, and his action opened a floodgate of defections from PBS and saw the collapse of Pairin’s PBS government. Sakaran Dandai became the first Umno Chief Minister in Sabah in 1994.
In 2003, Musa Aman was appointed chief minister. Musa Aman faced crisis after crisis immediately on assuming office. First the state treasury was nearly negative, Yayasan Sabah was on the verge of going bust, state agency were negative and the financial situation of the state was in shambles. Musa Aman had to prudently turn around the mess he inherited. In 2004, Musa Aman faced assembly elections and captured more seats than in 1999 and became the Chief Minister again. He won again in 2008 with a thumping victory winning 59 out of the 60 state seats. Musa Aman has earned the title as the longest serving Chief Minister of Sabah. Musa Aman is facing elections again expected within the next six months.
Sabah registered remarkable progress in the last ten years of Musa Aman’s rule. Nobody including his opponents can deny this.
This year Musa Aman unveiled a RM4.09bil budget the largest in the history of Sabah which is a RM40mil increase over last year’s budget of some RM4.05bil. Of this RM2.07bil would go towards the economic sector, RM988.23mil for public utilities, including water supply, rural electrification and sewerage projects, RM764mil would be spent on infrastructure including the construction of roads and bridges as well as ports and harbours and the upgrading of Borneo’s only rail service, Sabah Railways. Musa also announced a special RM1mil allocation and the RM500,000 sentuhan kasih (touch of compassion) funding for each state constituency be continued next year. So we see the expenditure is aimed at eradicating poverty and improving the quality of life of the people by improving basic infrastructure and public amenities while at the same time developing high quality youth and human capital and not ignoring to strengthen Sabah’s financial position.
Under Musa Aman, Sabah has even earned praise from Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang for demonstrating sound financial management and for maintaining its record of efficient and prudent handling of its finances over the last 12 years. One hundred and six departments and agencies were audited last year and each showed that its financial management was at a very good level. This places Sabah among the best states in Malaysia in terms of accountability and financial management efficiency. This has given Sabah a positive image as it proves that the state has succeeded in managing its resources well, efficiently and in an orderly manner. The auditor-general’s positive assessment should erase the allegations from certain quarters, who always question the state government’s capability and efficiency in managing its finances. In fact, the auditor-general was so impressed with Sabah’s financial management that he wants it to be a role model for other states.
Even Moody International has certified the Sabah government for efficient and proper budget management for three years running and RAM has given it a triple-A rating for its finances.
Sure there were problems in the past. Sabah’s problem of good drinking water would be an example of such an issue. Due to this, dry taps were a norm often in the past. In the kampongs, women and children had to walk far to fetch drinking water to their homes. There was scarcity of electricity and even the quality of electricity supplied was not up to the mark. Sabah lagged behind in girls’ education. Road facilities were not adequate and their quality was also not sound. But under Musa Aman, all these defects faded away in the last ten years. Now there are separate facilities for ground water and drinking water.
There is still some shortage of electricity in Sabah but has improved tremendously from the past where power failures and power cuts were a common thing. Now in most towns electricity is supplied for 24 hours a day. Electricity is supplied for agriculture through a separate feeder. What is even more praiseworthy is that the electricity is available with good quality. No Sabahans purchases stabilizers along with television or refrigerators. Sabah has registered remarkable progress in education as well. Native children and girls are attending school and receiving proper education at an increasing number.
Now you ask: How were all these feats achieved? It is simply Musa Aman’s focus and dedication. After reading the above facts, I think one can understand the reason for Shafie Apdal’s jealousy. Even though Shafie Apdal was MP for Semporna for 4 terms since 1995, he has done nothing much to improve the livelihood of the Semporna folks although he has got a huge budget at his disposal now from his Rural Ministry, his achievements pale into insignificance compared to that of Musa Aman’s.
To add to this, word on the street is that Musa Aman is set on becoming the Finance Minister of Malaysia in 2017.
There are over 3 million people living in Sabah. This forms 10% of Malaysian population. Sabah has an area of 73620 sq km. This is 60% of total land surface of Peninsular Malaysia. In oil palm production, Sabah’s share is 40%, Sabah contributes 25% in cocoa production, 27% in rubber production, 40% in natural gas, 55% in petroleum, 70% in tiger prawns production about 9000 metric tons, 60% in ginger production and 35% in cabbage production. If Musa Aman remains in power for another ten years uninterrupted, Sabah will be the most prosperous and peaceful place in the whole world. But unfortunately for the Sabahans, Musa Aman will be the Chief Minister only for the next five years. He is likely to be elevated as the Finance Minister of Malaysia. But Sabah’s loss is the rest of Malaysia’s gain. This is because Musa Aman will ensure Malaysia’s prosperity with his rich administrative experience, involvement, focus, dedication, concentration, sincerity and sense of purpose.
I know that all kinds of epithets will be hurled at me for praising Musa Aman and Sabah. I do not care about criticism. A journalist should speak the truth and nothing else. I have done my duty in reporting the truth about Sabah and Musa Aman. This satisfaction is enough for me as a writer.