Sabah lawmakers lame, do not care for people

Saturday, 7 December 2013

By Matthias Hermes

KOTA KINABALU: STAR Sabah took to task the State government and federal ministers from Sabah for failing to stop the latest hike in power tariff for Sabah.

“The Sabah government and the federal Minister from Sabah should have fought for the exemption of any increase for Sabah.

“Why have they not done so? Are they so lame, useless and powerless or do not care for the people in Sabah?” queried its chief Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan (photo).

He stressed that the Sabah government and Sabah leaders should take a cue from the Chief Minister of Sarawak, who announced that there will be no increase in electricity tariffs in Sarawak.

He expressed regret that the federal and Sabah governments along with their ministers have failed the people in Sabah by ‘turning a blind eye’ to unwarranted increases in the electricity tariffs in Sabah without solving the real problems.

He described it as a gross misconduct and misgovernance on their part which creates a “lose-lose-lose” scenario for Sabahans.

He was commenting on the 16.9% increase in tariffs for Sabah and Labuan, as compared to 15% increase in the Peninsula, commencing next year.

The Bingkor Assemblyman further stressed that the governments and Ministers need to understand that as the ruling regime, they are first and foremost, holding trusteeship as well as fiduciary and social responsibilities to the people.

“They cannot put themselves in the shoes of TNB and SESB who are corporate bodies and not government agencies responsible for power generation, maintenance and supply,” he stressed.

Dr Jeffrey contended that if TNB and SESB cannot operate efficiently, then the government should stop their monopoly and open the electricity sector to other players.

“Let it be known that there are other capable Malaysian companies that are operating power projects in other countries and many are doing well without government subsidies,” he said.

He was also of the opinion that there was absolutely no justification for any increase of power tariff, citing that it had been increased in 2011when there was no increase in power tariff in the Peninsula since 1986, as acknowledged by the Minister, Datuk Maximus Ongkili.

Dr Jeffrey further described the said move as a ‘double whammy’ for Sabahans in addition to the already high cost of living contributed by the factors such as cabotage policy. This was made worse by the lower minimum wages compared to the Peninsular Malaysia.

“All these are increasing the burden on the people and affecting their daily lives,” he said.

He also considered the rate of increase of 16.89% for Sabah as compared to 15% in the Peninsula, was not only an additional burden but also a slap in the face for Sabahans and Sabah leaders.

He was also irked by the fact that with the lower rate of increase as compared with Sabah, the federal government will be spending another RM14 billion for consumers in the Peninsula, but not Sabah.

“Why is there no corresponding support for Sabah?” he asked.

He thus said this higher rate of increase for Sabah’s power tariff completely demonstrated the federal leaders’ “couldn’t care less” attitude, disrespect and non-prioritization of Sabah’s interests.

Borneo Insider


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