When I wrote in June that according to the state’s economic survey published earlier this year, that Sabah had averaged 8% growth in the last five years, many people asked “Do you really believe this?”

My conclusion: Sabah’s economic boom is indeed real. But it is fragile and dependent on Chief Minister Musa Aman getting appointed again as chief minister and getting re-elected in the coming state assembly elections again. If instead opposition wins, or Shafie Apdal the blue-eyed boy of Najib is appointed as chief minister all bets on Sabah are off.

Can we really believe Sabah’s data? The Malaysia’s Department of Statistics guides the states collecting and processing data, but does not check whether the job is done correctly. Cynics think Sabah’s notoriously manipulative politicians must have fudged the data for false publicity.

The data show enormous swings in agriculture from year to year. Because of this, Sabah’s growth averaged 8% over the last five years, but only 6.3% over the last six years. Still, we can say that it has been growing at 6-8%, and that is miracle growth.

Second, politicians are uninterested in fudging the state domestic product. No politician can win an election by claiming that economic growth is 8% rather than 6%: such statistics go over the head of voters, for whom personal experience is what matters. Sabah’s politicians did not fudge the data and then hold a press conference to announce record growth. Rather, I dug out the 8% story from the Department of Statistic’s data bank, and many were manifestly surprised to hear about it.

Third, if you add up the state data on gross domestic product, the sum is well below national GDP. So, any errors by the states seem to be on the low side rather than the high side.

Fourth, most states, not just Sabah, showed strident growth in the last five years. This fits well with the boom in national GDP in 2004-10, so the state data look plausible.

Fifth, state governments usually want to claim that they are in dire straits and so merit additional funds from Kuala Lumpur. Back in the early 2000, I found that Selangor was for some time the fastest growing state in Malaysia, and I asked what accounted for fast growth. To my surprise, state officials and politicians were dismayed at my questions. They were used to moaning and groaning about their poverty and the need for more central hand-outs, so they looked on me almost as an enemy.

For these reasons, I believe that the economic boom in Sabah is real, not a statistical fudge. A visit to Sabah provides plenty of anecdotal proof. In Pairin’s time, anybody building a house or booking a new car promptly got the tax boys or even the famous Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) chaps or even burglars visiting them. Today home construction and car sales are booming. Traffic jams have replaced deserted streets.

In Pairin’s time, swaggering goons mainly illegals and some Sarawakians showed off their “parangs” and some even their guns in public. Today no gunman is visible. The Musa Aman administration has convicted hundreds of people, including dozens of businessman and politicians, some from the ruling party itself — for violating the Arms Act.

The old cloud of fear has been replaced by peace and confidence. Safety has allowed small businesses to burst into activity. Women say they are no longer afraid to walk the streets. Digi and Maxis and even Celcom says Sabah has the fastest growth of talk-time in any state.

The economic miracle has been led by construction, which has averaged a colossal growth rate of 37% per year for the last five years. Government development spending has zoomed from RM 1.5 Billion to RM 3.3 Billion per year. Most impressive has been the rise in road construction about thousands of kilometers has been built. Security plus road and telecom expansion have incubated a boom in small business and domestic construction.

However, large-scale industry remains on the sidelines. Organized sector output actually fell at constant prices, and has stagnated under Musa. Many large industries have proposed big investments, but these will be pursued only if Musa Aman is re-elected and reappointed as chief minister.

Musa Aman swept the polls in the 2008 elections, with opposition DAP getting only 1 seat out of the 60 seats seats. Optimists theorise that if Oppossition SAPP/Pakatan Rakyat under Yong Teck Lee returns, Yong Teck Lee will come back a changed man, full of the efficient technocracy he displayed as Chief Minister in 1996-98. But most people fear that Yong Teck Lee will bring back his businessmen friends like Joseph Ambrose Lee, and than the raping of the state coffers will return. Hence the future of Sabah’s economic miracle remains in doubt.

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  1. Bei Soo Lang says:

    RCI on Sabah illegal migrants unlikely, says cableJoseph Sipalan
    Sep 3, 11
    2:01pm10 friends can read this story for freeA confidential US embassy cable puts little hope in the possibility of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Sabah’s illegal immigrant problem, blaming it on the vested interests of “Mahathir-era politicians” in the state.

    The cable, posted online by Wikileaks, alleged that the federal government and Umno had actively facilitated the issuance of Malaysian documents to illegal immigrants in exchange for political support.

    The cable went on to claim that a retired senior intelligence official “frankly admitted” that former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s (right) administration had “facilitated illegal immigration” from neighbouring Indonesia and the Philippines to “better balance the state’s ethnic and religious equation”.

    The retired official allegedly said that this was a preventive measure to “ward off any future separatist sentiments in Sabah, in addition to attracting Umno votes needed to control the state”.

    “A Royal Commission, operated properly, would likely expose the depth of Umno and BN’s political corruption and vote manipulation, further inciting Sabahans,” stated the cable, dated Sept 5, 2008.

    Sabah politicians and activists have long been demanding that the federal government fulfil its responsibilities in helping solve this long-standing issue, with many claiming that it started to get out of hand during the 1994 state elections when the then opposition PBS was toppled by the BN after a nine-year rule.

    Among the demands put forward was for a RCI to be formed to probe the root causes of the state’s burgeoning illegal immigrant problem.

    The latest call came from Upko president and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok, following the purported installation of a Sabah businessman as the Sultan of Sulu.

    Crackdown on illegals ‘political band aid’

    This was, however, not the first time Dompok (right) had demanded a RCI, with the cable stating that he had told US embassy officials back in 2008 that the Royal Commission is needed to find out who are issuing Malaysian documents to illegal immigrants for any action to be effective.

    Describing the periodic operations against the illegal migrants in Sabah as “political band aid”, the cable pointed out that Sabahans “see the immigrants being deported as ‘low hanging fruit’, enabling authorities to demonstrate that they are ‘doing something’ about it”.

    The cable also quoted the then Suhakam vice-chairperson Simon Sipaun, who cited estimates of around 1.9 million illegals and/or undocumented people living in Sabah, far higher than the federal government’s official estimates of 240,000.

    Another person quoted in the cable, Muhammad Radzi Jamaludin who was principal assistant secretary in the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Southeast Asia division, allegedly conceded to US embassy officials that many Filipinos deported from Sabah returned after just “a couple weeks”.

    He added that some Malaysian women falsely claim Filipino citizenship, only to announce they are Malaysians upon reaching the Philippines and that they wanted to stay with their husbands, who were being deported.

    Govt accused of ‘selective crackdown’

    The cable concluded that the federal government crackdowns on illegal immigrants in Sabah have been “selective” and “explicitly avoids raids on key areas of migrant employment” such as manufacturing, logging, palm oil plantations and service industries, “which could be forced to curtail operations without their illegal migrant workers”.

    A local journalist met by US embassy officials allegedly told them that an earlier damping down “that proved too effective” in detaining illegal immigrants after local business leaders complained and the police official who planned the operation was punished and transferred.

    “Sabahans consider illegal immigration a major concern, even though important segments of the state’s economy are highly dependent on cheap migrant labour.

    “Many view illegal immigrants, especially Filipino Muslims, as upsetting the political balance in Sabah, whose native majority is Catholic.

    “The lack of enthusiasm among Sabahans for current illegal immigrant crackdown illustrates the overall mistrust of the BN government and its peninsular-centric policies,” the cable said.
    View Comments (11)

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  2. Anonymous says:

    There are so many foreign voters in Sabah,
    They are going to vote a foreigner to be the next CM of Sabah,
    Bei Soo Lang,
    Bernama) – A total of 2,040,709 foreign workers and illegal immigrants have been registered under the 6P programme as at 8am Thursday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said.

    He said of the total, 936,732 were legal workers while 1,103,977 were illegal immigrants.

    “It is an unexpected number in the context of registration because after this, we still have to carry out the process of legalisation, amnesty, supervision and enforcement.

    “So, I would like to call on those who have yet to register to do so as soon as possible,” he told reporters after breaking fast with the Home Ministry’s staff here last night.

    He also refuted the allegation that those who had registered would be deported to their countries of origin and described the allegation as an attempt to sabotage the 6P programme.

    “Some people accused that there is a problem with the biometric registration system…it is indeed a baseless allegation because if there’s a problem, the number of people registered would not reach two million,” he said.

    Hishammuddin said registered illegal immigrants from Indonesia made up the highest number at 551,268, followed by Bangladesh with 241,538.

    “This means that the cooperation we have with the Indonesian and the Bangladesh governments had succeeded and I would like to thank the representatives of the two governments and ensure that we will continue to work closely with them,” he said.

    The minister said the biometric registration process had to be carried out as the government did not know the exact number of foreigners in the country.

    “The two million people are legal workers and illegal immigrants who have registered voluntarily before we carry out the legalisation and enforcement processes and it is possible that the number will increase,” he said.

    Earlier, Hishammuddin also gave away hampers and “duit raya” (cash) to orphans in Klang Valley.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    How come many Sabahans in KK speaks in a foreign tongue ??,
    Come to my office for an answer.
    beisoolang@gmail.com
    tel: 0378053838
    Malaysians are in danger of losing their beloved country if immediate steps are not taken to stop the government’s electoral manipulation of illegal immigrants’ status to allow them voting rights so that power-crazed leaders can stay in power.
    In the case of one Indonesian permanent resident, Mismah, it was revealed that her status was changed from PR to full citizen within hours so as to allow her full voting rights. In Selangor, 1,000 permanent residents and in Penang 1,500 were found on the voter rolls although only full-fleged voters can have such rights. Again in Penang, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng discovered a staggering 32,000 new voters being registered within three months.
    There are now growing calls for Pakatan Raykat leaders, the NGOs and the people to join forces and demand a stop to the huge voter cheating going on. It has become clear that Prime Minister Najib Razak has lost his way, and the latest hot tip leaked by former deputy minister Tan Kee Kwong is that the BN has hired an IT expert to create a virus to destroy the voter database in the event that the Pakatan wins.
    “They have hired an IT expert to do this work of disruption just in case they lose the polls,” said Tan, who is also chairman of the PKR disciplinary panel.
    Vote Pakatan to offset the BN vote rigging

    In Sarawak, people from all walks of life are now worried about a repeat of what happened in Sabah, following the launch of Project M in the 80s that focused on legalizing Filipino and Indonesian migrants to vote for the BN in exchange for their citizenships.
    See Chee How, the PKR Batu Lintang assemblyman called on all “sensible BN supporters” who wanted to save Malaysia to vote for Pakatan Raykat in the coming general election to counter the “cheating” perpetuated by the BN’s rigging of the voting system.
    “The BN is desperate and tend to make desperate move even at the expense of the country. So legalising the illegal is one of the many dirty tactics the BN government will use to win in the next general election,” he told Malaysia Chronicle.
    Saying that he too is a desperate Malaysian doing his little bit to save Malaysia, See believed that there were a lot of sensible and fair-minded BN supporters who love Malaysia as he did and together they could vote out the betrayers who were willing to sell their land to foreigners in exchange for power. “The power of the country is in your hand,” he urged.
    Najib, said See, is using all the government machinery including, the police, the Election Commission and the National Registration Department to ensure that he stays in power. That was why, Najib was so reluctant to use the indelible ink but opted for costly and easy to manipulate Biometric system.
    With illegals coming into the country seeking blue collar jobs or who were involved in criminal activities, See is worried that the future of the country would be at stake if tens of thousands of these uneducated are absorbed into the society. “Sabahans are suffering from high crime rate and we would be infested with social issues in the future. Is the BN government so blinded by power not to see the consequences,” he chided.
    Although the Pakatan leaders have asked for an emergency Parliament sitting on the electoral fraud, See believed that Najib would not agree to it. “It will spoil his plan.”
    Wake up call to all Malaysians
    MP for Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen also made a similar call to the people and the government servants to “open their eyes” and see the dirty tactic used by the BN to stay in power.
    “I am appealing to the good conscience of the civil servants in the Election Commission, the NRD and the other government agencies to come together and expose this tactic of selling our country to foreigners bit by bit. This is our country, our children’s land and we must protect it from going to ruins,” he said emotionally.
    Chong said he would not appeal to the BN leaders as conscience was something he said they lacked. “This is Najib’s way of defending Putrajaya by hook or crook. By crook, you are destroying your own country, Najib,” he warned.
    Admitting that it would be very difficult fr Pakatan to suss out every Mismah, Chong pointed out that the best alternative was to monitor the electoral registration which they are doing every three months. “In Sabah, the damage done is irreversible. The state security is a mess and the locals are being treated like foreigners in their own land,”
    He said such dirty tactics amounted to treason. Chong warned that Pakatan would lose heavily in the coming general election if projects like Mismah continued.
    Angry, betrayed and no-eye-see
    Meanwhile, “angry and betrayed”, that was how most people on the streets viewed the Mismah case.
    Chung, a professional said when he read about Mismah, he believed that the BN would use such a ploy in simple-win majority seats held by the Pakatan. “It’s all a numbers game for the BN. I do not think Najib and those around him are concerned with what will happen to Malaysia. To stay in power, everything goes for them.”
    Chung said he is worried of more brain drain. “There will be so much to lose out in future. We will have to share our medical benefits, free education, jobs, business and almost everything. If they contribute to our economy, that’s fine but here they are just given citizenships to vote BN, what have they done for the country. It is scary to even think about it,” he added.
    Cindy, an administration officer in a private firm said she could not wait for the general election. “I registered more than 15 years ago as a voter but I have never voted. This time, I have to exercise my rights as those without rights are doing so,” she said, referring to the citizenship for votes ploy.

    “Those in power fail to see that the people affected are not only the non-Malays but also the Malays. Foreigners who came in are mostly Muslim and in future, I can see Malaysian Muslims and the instant-noodle citizens fighting over religious practice and government jobs. It will happen,” she said.
    Ah Hing who rans a char-kueh store said at the rate Najib was running the country, it was a lose-lose situation for all Malaysian.
    “Instead of turning the country around, he is legalising illegals to be part of us. This country is sinking lower than I thought it will. I am joining my daughter in Singapore next year. ‘No-eye-see’ what is happening here but I pity you guys who have to stay behind,” he said.
    – Malaysia Chronicle

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  4. Bei Soo Lang says:

    Orang cina ada orang miskin yang pendatang from negri asal nya,
    Semua jadi pencuri besar in negara ini,
    Jadi kaya kaya.
    Interview me at 0378053838

    Like

  5. Bei Soo Lang says:

    A senior government valuer testified today that at the amount quoted for the controversial Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) land including interest payment, however, an excess of interest of RM720million was still paid.

    Former Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) director Sahari Mahadi told the Kuala Lumpur High Court hearing former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik’s corruption trial that six percent was included when Port Klang Authority (PKA) decided to buy the 999.5 acres of land from Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) for RM1,088,456,000.

    Sahari, the second witness to testify today, confirmed the prosecution’s claim that PKA overpaid KDSB by including another 7.5 percent per annum which caused the total amount to inflate to a staggering RM1.8billion.

    Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah asked Sahari to explain the cost for the 830 acres out of the 999.5 acres land which was sold at RM25 per square foot (psf).

    Sahari replied that it did and the RM25 psf was the amount quoted in the event the government chooses to defer payments over a period of 10 years as agreed by the buyer and the seller.

    The 63-year-old retiree explained to Justice Ahmadi Asnawi that the JPPH headquarters concluded their valuation and decided to give their price per square foot at RM18 at first.

    However, KDSB, based on their own private valuation findings, had offered to add “special value”, thereby hiking the cost per square foot to RM25, said Sahari.

    “Was the RM25 psf an offered price (harga tawaran) or claimed price (harga tuntutan)?” asked Tun Abdul Majid.

    “(…) KDSB asked for RM23.15 psf or higher but this amount was not agreed by JPPH and both parties finally agreed a price for the special value at RM20.75 psf which was rounded up to RM21,” replied Sahari.

    He added that if PKA was to pay in cash for the land the price per square feet would be at RM21, however, if payment is delayed over a period of 10 years the cost would be RM25 psf.

    The court adjourned soon after as the prosecution had left behind documents that were supposed to be submitted.

    Amended principle and alternative charges

    Ling today claimed trial to amended principal and alternative cheating charges.

    According to the main charge, he was accused of deceiving the Malaysian government between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002 by deceiving the cabinet into agreeing on the land purchase in Pulau Indah for the PKFZ project according to the terms agreed to between Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd and Port Klang Authority.

    In the amended charges, the prosecution said that Ling concealed facts regarding an interest of 7.5 percent per annum in addition to the cost of the land which was priced at RM25 per sq ft which summed up to RM1,088,456,000.

    On the first count, Ling is alleged to have deceived the cabinet into agreeing to the terms of purchase between Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) and Port Klang Authority (PKA) and giving its approval for the purchase.

    He was said to have committed the deception with the knowledge it could cause wrongful losses to the government and despite being bound by a fiduciary duty to protect the government.

    The charge, under Section 418 of the Penal Code, carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment or fine or both upon conviction.

    Ling faces an alternative charge of similar cheating for deliberately concealing facts related to the project from the cabinet.

    The charge, under Section 417 of the Penal Code, is punishable by imprisonment of up to five years or fine or both upon conviction.

    The trial resumes tomorrow morning with Sahari on the stand.

    Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    Musa Aman is the vacum cleaner of Sabah. Semua project pun dia makan.

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  7. Sabah needs Musa Aman for another 5 years. We can see real growth by then. Najib must not experiment on Sabah by changing the chief minister. It is a stupid move if he does that. Sabah will be doomed if Shafie Apdal becomes CM of Sabah. Pilaks will take over Sabah.

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