In the season of scams when political reputations are at their lowest ebb, Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman stands out as a remarkable exception. His emergence as a front-runner in a field crowded with seemingly redoubtable figures like Shafie Apdal, Rahim Ismail, Yong Teck Lee, V K Liew, Chong Kah Kiat, et al, is all the more noteworthy because of his quiet, unassuming persona.

Yet, by winning a resounding electoral mandate in 2008, he has been unequivocally hailed by vox populi as their choice as the best chief minister of Sabah since 1963.

The extraordinariness of Musa Aman’s feat is demonstrated by the unbelievable turnaround that he has brought about in Sabah’s social and economic scene. Needless to say, his political success is based on this transformation.

The result is that he has proved beyond all doubt that if a politician uses the official and political power in his hands for the betterment of ordinary people’s lives, he becomes virtually unbeatable.

Malaysia will be a much improved country if this simple lesson provided by Musa Aman is widely emulated. And at no time is there a greater need for such emphasis on the fundamental requirements of the people than in the present murky atmosphere when, as Lim Kit Siang has said, the country’s ‘moral universe’ has shrunk.

Except, perhaps, in Sabah where the incarceration of thousands of illegals and criminals, and the fall in the number of abductions to nearly zero in the east-coast of Sabah, and the continuous deportation of illegals back to Philippines and Indonesia, have largely restored the common man’s faith in the administration’s clout and goodwill. In a state where the parties are not averse to get illegals as voters or illegals as cadres, since the days of the Late Tun Mustapha, the chief minister has shown that he means business. Besides, as the Sabah State Security Chief, he does not use the police to harass the opposition and he upholds civil liberties.

As a result, there has been a huge surge in tourist coming to Sabah because people are no longer afraid to visit Sabah with women and children. Besides, they can afford to remain out after nightfall unlike in the past when the town and roads became deserted and the haunts of criminals.

But it isn’t the improved law and order situation alone which has encouraged greater outdoor excursions to the beautiful islands in the east-coast of Sabah. There has also been a vast improvement in the condition of roads with the restoration and construction of nearly hundreds of kilometers of highways and bridges, including elevated hanging bridges.

Much of this work was done by public sector undertaking and also private sector undertaking, which was able to overcome its earlier deficit to contribute for relief even to the flood victims the last time. But no less noteworthy than its good work was the subsequent appointment of capable executives, which underlined the chief minister’s ability to spot and reward talented bureaucrats.

At the same time, he has been ruthless in the matter of initiating action against officials found guilty of corrupt practices. Many have been sacked.

Since these measures have improved the investment climate, it is not surprising that Sabah’s current growth rate of 8 percent has become comparable to Penang and Selangor’s. For the present, however, this upward trend can be ascribed to the fact that shops and commercial establishments are mushrooming all over Sabah and they can remain open till late at night, which was not possible during the days of PBS and Pairin Kitingan when even the streets had no lights.

The phrase was earlier derided as political hyperbole, but not after the return of normalcy in daily life.

Apart from law and order, Musa Aman has focused on the education sector which is under the Federal Government, he has been continuously pressuring the Federal Government, to get more teachers at the primary and secondary levels to reduce the teacher-student ratio from the present dismal 1:50. The provision of uniforms and school shoes and free milk for kids attending school has also been an attractive feature of his policies.

The chief minister has now turned his attention to higher education with his proposal to the Federal Government to set up more colleges and technical institutions. For this purpose, he has selected some good academicians to advice the state government.

Health had been a neglected factor in Sabah. Hospitals were in a bad way and most primary health centers were non-functional in the interior of Sabah. Musa is now working at upgrading health facilities. He is inviting private partnership to achieve this and already millions and millions have been spent in construction and upgradation. Federal Government who is responsible for health in Sabah has been constantly told to pay more attention to Sabah. Immunization, the key to control disease is being aggressively promoted.

The power situation was pathetic. With the exception of Kota Kinabalu, almost all the districts have severe power cuts and even now have power for only a couple of hours sometimes everyday.

Musa understands that power will bring in industry. A new Power Policy is being prepared that will woo private investment in generation and distribution. For a start, there are proposals for new power projects that could generate 300 megawatts. Geothermal power plant and gas fired power plant are also being considered without adversely damaging the environment. Private players are being roped in and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) has been constantly told to improve their performance. He has even warned Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) to justify the recent increase in the power tariffs and not burden Sabahans with the increase.

Then there is the issue of children from Chinese-native parents in Sabah where the National Registration Department (NRD) is unwilling to specify their mixed ethnicity in their MyKad applications. The NRD required Sino-Kadazans or Sino-Dusuns to choose between Chinese, Kadazan, Dusun or Murut ethnicity for their MyKads. The NRD is insisting that the community use the generic term “Sino-Native” in the documentation. So silly for the NRD to do this. This policy has angered the mixed Chinese-native community in the state and they have refused to subscribe to the NRD ruling and are demanding that their particular native groupings be recognised. As a Sabahan, Musa Aman understands their feeling. Musa Aman has even told the NRD repeatedly that in Sabah by virtue of its traditions, customs and beliefs everyone recognises the existence of Sino Kadazan, Sino Dusun and others because inter-marriages in Sabah are norm, just like in my own case where my wife is Chinese-Native. After all, as far as Sabah is concerned there are many things that were being done in Sabah that was not done in other parts of Malaysia. KL must recognise and learn from Sabah in terms of harmony and living together. Musa even said that blanket policies could no longer apply for Sabah and that the federal government must take into account local situations and accord the ‘right treatment’ in policies to be implemented in the state.

Then we have the Christians in Sabah and Musa’s success in winning the support of the Christians despite having the Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and UPKO and even PBRS as a partners is based on a no-nonsense approach to communal relations. In this respect, Musa Aman has shown how stern he is compared to Taib Mahmud of Sarawak, who looked on helplessly when the Alkitab and Allah issue was played up by fanatics within UMNO.

In contrast, Musa Aman showed the firm, uncompromising side of his character when he refused to let extremist break the racial harmony in Sabah which has been around for hundreds of years and a trademark of Sabah, and the West Malaysians will never understand this.

Musa Aman’s success via these steps in weaning sizeable sections of the Christians undoubtedly contributed to his electoral triumph in 2008 and even the recent Batu Sapi Parliamentary by-elections.

His focus on the natives also helped him by widening the distance between them and the others, who constitute the Sabah’s vote bank.

Musa Aman knows that he now has to start delivering and there is great expectations by Sabahans. He has got everyone thinking and interested in Sabah, but that is not enough. Change has now to be felt and experienced. The masses are eager and impatient. No one knows it more than Musa Aman does. Elections are only months away. Time flies.

Comments
  1. Bei Soo lang says:

    Sabah should follow the Penang Government of politics without corruption,
    I am from Penang and you are welcome to see the model in my KK office.

    KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has been urged to deal with the issues of rampant corruption, illegal immigrants and the ‘fear’ to take corrective actions immediately.
    Describing the issues as the ‘three axis of evil’ in Sabah, Senator Chin Su Phin said the federal government’s move to offer amnesty to illegals with only worsen the situation in the state.
    He contended that presently one out of every four persons in Sabah is an illegal immigrant and cautioned that with the amnesty programme announced by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein coming into effect in July, the ratio of Sabahan to illegal immigrant could soon be 1:2 due to the wave of unrestricted entry of illegal immigrants into the state.
    “Very soon, Sabahans will no longer feel like they are residing in Malaysia due to the massive change in population make-up.
    “Although the amnesty will benefit the plantation and the construction bosses, the majority of Sabahans will lose out.
    “Our health care services have already reached maximum capacity.
    “Hospitals no longer have the capacity to provide proper health care services to the locals and patients have to wait in long queues together with the aliens,” he said.
    Chin said that recently the Kundasang Development and Security Committee chairman Mien Bangaloi complained to the local authority that immigrants, (known by their Bahasa Malaysia acronym of PTI) were also trading in competition with the local farmers at a tourist resort area in Kundasang.
    “Instead of being employed in the farms or working as hawker’s assistants, the PTIs have instead become bosses in their own right.
    “The PTIs can sell their farm produce at a lower price compared to the local thus depriving the local of making any reasonable profits.
    “Surely this will not contribute to a high income society as envisage by the Prime Minister.
    “The population of foreigners are continuing to grow by the hundreds in remote locations like Masilau and Monteki (in Kundasang) and complaints of the security committee in Ranau district are unable to stop the flood of migration of foreign workers,” said Chin, who is also Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) deputy president.

    Amnesty won’t do
    Chin also dismissed the rationale of the amnesty that vice-activities such as money-laundering, terrorist activities and drug smuggling would be minimised as an absolute fallacy.
    “Simple logic will tell you that the more foreigners we have, the more the vice activities will increase and the more our police force will have to handle criminal cases.
    “Opening our front door to foreigners will only make way for Sabah to be flooded with aliens.
    “Who can guarantee that the time will not come for the foreigners to declare their own Sultan in Sabah when their numbers have multiplied and their population eventually overtake the local population,” he said, citing the self-proclamation of Mohd Akjan Datu Muhammad as the “Sultan of Sulu” at the latter’s residence in Likas early this year.
    Chin supported the recent call by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) youth leader cum Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports, Jahid Jahim for an investigation to determine Akjan’s citizenship.
    He said Akjan was born in Jambangan, Nipah-Nipah Sulu in the Southern Philippines on Nov 23, 1957 and “from listening to his Filipino slang, you can tell that we have a classic case where a foreigner has not only become boss but also a sultan in our beloved state of Sabah.
    “There will be more bosses and sultans if we do not handle this ‘mother of all problems’ in Sabah with a comprehensive strategy.
    “It is public knowledge that Akjan was arrested and detained under the ISA in the mid 1990s after he was allegedly caught with a briefcase containing about 2,000 Malaysian identity cards at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport on a return flight from Kuala Lumpur.
    “It was alleged that he was selling the ICs to Filipino illegal immigrants in Sabah for between RM500 and RM3,000,” Chin said.
    On the issue of wasteful spending, corruption, abuse of power and poor delivery system, Chin pointed out that Akjan’s company Nautica Technologies Sdn Bhd was awarded the GOF headquarters development project in Kinarut in 2004 for RM214 million.
    He recalled that the project ground to a halt due to incompetence and the government had to bail the contractor out.
    Chin also cited the the 179KM Kalabakan-Sepulut road project completed early this year at a cost of RM565 million.
    “The road cost RM3 million per kilometer to build. But market estimates RM1 million per kilometer was enough to build the gravel road.
    “So, where did the RM358 million go to?” he said, adding that on June 18 State Public Works Department Director John Anthony announced that another RM270 Million had been approved for the upgrading the failed road.
    “Instead of investigating why the road failed to perform, another opportunity for corruption has arisen for upgrading the road.
    “Why do the people of Sabah again have to pay for corruption and incompetence?”
    “This is one of the reasons why Sabah is still lagging behind in many aspects and is labeled the poorest state in the country, especially in vital basic infrastructure despite spending billions of development fund in Sabah,” he said.

    ‘Civilised robbers’
    Chin said that another Sabah mega project is the Tanjung Aru-Tenom railway project which was tended out for RM330 million and targeted to be completed in May 2008, but now requires an additional RM300 million for its completion.
    He contended the Sabah Railway project has gone off-track, it is incomplete and also RM40 million had been overpaid to the contractor.
    “License to govern does not mean license to be corrupt and some politicians will have to learn this the hard way.
    “One wonders when there will be enough awareness in this country that citizens would learn to question the ‘civilised robbers’, question them, fight them and fix them.
    “Some people termed corruption as highway robbery, I say that unrestrained and unchecked “god –like” power is the main contributor to our poor transparency index of 4.4 out of 10 perfect points.
    “Malaysia barely passed the transparency test in 2008 with a score of 5.5, today we have failed with a score of 4.4 out of 10.
    “Since Sabah is the poorest state in Malaysia and poverty being a hugh indicator of corruption, I can say that our own Sabah Transparency index is 1 out of 10 points,” said Chin during his maiden speech at the Dewan Rakyat recently.
    Chin’s LDP party is a member of the Sabah Barisan Nasional coalition.

    Like

  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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    Datuk Shafie Apdal Don’t Dream lah To Become Chief Minister of Sabah!
    Dr Micheal Devaraj Lancar Mogok Lapar Sehingga Semua Tahanan EO Dibebas>>

    Like

  3. Fed Up! says:

    Are you all joking or what? The other day in the Borneo Post was an article about the stuff up with the new bridge at Kingfisher Park. Delayed, cost over run, capacity reduced etc and guess what ?NO ONE held to account, no one takes reponsibility. Who ever is overseeing this debacle, ie the director should resign forthwith. This is the kind of government your precious Musa leads lah!

    Like

  4. POP says:

    He worked hard for Sabah. We should thank him for contributing so much for Sabah.

    Like

  5. Kurang says:

    Usaha Musa memang baik, tetapi kami mengharapkan yang terbaik dan kemajuan berterusan. Banyak lagi kekurangan di Negeri Sabah ni.

    Like

  6. Usaha says:

    Kemajuan bukan diatas Musa seorang.. Kepada semua yang berjuang bersama beliau, kami juga mengucapkan terima kasih. Teruskan usaha!

    Like

  7. Future says:

    Effort always appreciated! There are still more rooms of improvement that need to take care, we need hand from everyone to bring our dreams come true!

    Like

  8. Jaya says:

    I agreed with what Adam said: Such good efforts should be continuously be done so sabah will be more develop in the future and i believe musa will do his role as sabah CM efficiently and effectively.

    Lets work harder for a better tomorrow.

    Like

  9. Improve says:

    We can see his contribution. Lets not be proud but long term improvement needed. As we can see, there are many issues and lacking in Sabah i.e. Technology, infrastructure, public services, standard of living etc…

    Like

  10. Train says:

    Never proud with the current result, continuous improvement are essential. We have to trains more younger generation/ bring in new blood for future expansion after Musa.

    Like

  11. Maju says:

    Kemajuan Sabah bukan setakat ini sahaja, kami menantikan kemajuan setaraf dan pembanguan yang lebih pesat seperti kemudahan infrastruktur yang lebih sempurna, mengalu investor dari luar negara, basmi kemiskinan dll..

    Like

  12. Expansion says:

    Musa Hardwork always being appreciated. We should not being proud and satisfied with teh currently success but we should look forward to continue development and expansion.

    Like

  13. Maju says:

    Appreciate Musa effort and contribution to boost Sabah to a develop state in line with the development of the country. The are still more rooms of improvement that need to work harder for the improvement such as infrastructure, economy, reduce no.of low income, working opportunity etc..

    Like

  14. Kembang says:

    Perkembangan Sabah tidak setakat ini sahaja, berjuang demi perkembangan yang berterusan.

    Like

  15. martycruz says:

    seriously, I want to praise Chief Minister Musa Aman’s for his efforts to boost Sabah economy and for bringing development to this state. previous Chief Minister before him only know how to spend state fund but unable to bring it back..

    Like

  16. Yoyo says:

    The nice title.. Yeah..Hope CM do more and more for develop Sabah.

    Like

  17. adam says:

    edelweiss, harris salleh has NO contribution to sabah… that’s for sure… he betrayed sabahan by giving out Labuan to federal for nothing…

    Like

  18. adam says:

    such good efforts should be continuously be done so sabah will be more develop in the future and i believe musa will do his role as sabah CM efficiently and effectively.

    Like

  19. adam says:

    then, now musa has to maintain and improve the public services.. the key of success is the delivery system..

    Like

  20. adam says:

    under musa aman administration, sabah now more developed than before..

    Like

  21. lyn says:

    harap Sabah akan menjadi lebih membangun lagi pada masa depan…

    Like

  22. mantra says:

    mmg kita dpt lihat perubahan dan pembangunan Sabah sepanjang Musa menjadi KM.

    Like

  23. Teddy says:

    Unfortunately for MA, he oso need to carry the burden which the previous cm left him.

    Like

  24. Teddy says:

    Musa has contributed a lot for Sabah.

    Like

  25. Edelweiss says:

    Mustapha, Said Keruak, Harris Salleh, Pairin Kitingan merupakan KM Sabah yang berkhidmat dalam tempoh yang lama selain Musa Aman. bagaimana pula sumbangan mereka?

    Like

  26. Edelweiss says:

    sebagai KM Sabah yang berkhidmat paling lama berbanding KM Sabah yang lain memungkinkan Musa Aman dapat menonjolkan sumbangannya dalam pembangunan di Sabah. pasti semua ini berkat sokongan rakyat.

    Like

  27. amir says:

    Harap KM Musa Aman akan lebih berusaha selepas ini untuk membagunkan Sabah.

    Like

  28. Johnny be good says:

    Musa Aman has done a lot for Sabah. He is good chief minister.

    Like

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