I got this on the SAPP Blog and find it very relevant to how I feel. Imagine when I was attending the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia luncheon recently in Alor Setar, all the Peninsular states delegates were introduced State by State but when it come to Sabah and Sarawak, they just announced delegates from East Malaysia.
This is just one example of how we need to work together as a nation to bridge the gap whether economically or socially. I guess there is still a lot of work to be done for Malaysia.
I read it and felt very ashamed as a Malaysian that after 45 years of Malaysia, there is still such an ocean of ignorance among West Malaysians about Sabah and Sarawak.
Barisan Nasional is not prepared to create a truly Malaysian nation where Sabahans and Sarawakians can fully feel that they are an integral part of the nation.
This is why BN has become quite irrelevant, not only to Sabahans and Sarawakians but to all Malaysian communities, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazan-Dusun-Muruts, Ibans, Orang Aslis.
Let Malaysians join hands as one people despite the obstacles and baggages of BN.”
As 916 (September the 16th) – the day where the change of Federal Government is rumoured could happen. I suddenly have the urge to say a few words for my beloved hometown and state – Sabah, the Land below the Wind.
I am not very good in writing, but I will try my best, to let our voices be heard throughout the world.
Many people assume that we Sabahans are a proud bunch of people, hence the name “Proud Sabahans”; I do admit, Sabahans generally do have a biased perceptions towards West Malaysians, me myself included. Although Sabah is the poorest state amongst all the 13 states in Malaysia, it’s not the fault of the peninsular people. (It’s the fault of the Federal Government), but the lack of understanding of West Malaysians towards us – East Malaysians, makes me feel ashamed of myself.
Because they – West Malaysians, they never really encountered what we as East Malaysians faced, nor do they understand the distresses we are in.
This is the story of one country, two different encounters, as fate would have it.
When I first arrived in West Malaysia, west Malaysians they asked me “Do you Sabahans really live on trees?”, while my sister was mistaken for a bumiputra although she is a Malaysian Chinese.
We are not rude; nor we still hunt; nor we still have tiger meat for food; neither do we sleep together with Orang Utans.
West Malaysians do not really quite know where do I come from, is it Sarawak? Is it Sabah? Hence they always refer us as originating from Sabah Sarawak, explanations after explanations, they still do not get it, and hence still, they assume, we are from Sabah Sarawak. But I do not refer those West Malaysians as coming from states like Kedah Kelantan; neither Melakasembilan nor Penangperlis.
I tried my best to introduce Sabah to my West Malaysian friends; over in Sabah we do have housing estates, markets, discos, jetties, and even Giant hypermarkets.
But in contradiction, although I live in a house with 4 walls and a roof, but we always have to face frequent blackouts, not to mention frequent water disruptions and rationing also, we do not even have a properly tarred road, compared to West Malaysia.
Once I was staying in West Malaysia, I was ticked off by my housemates for not flushing the toilet after urinating; he mentioned that it was very unhygienic of me.
When I heard of this, I was dumbfounded; do I need to flush every time after I finish using the toilet?
Then I realized, West Malaysia have endless water supply 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 60 minutes an hour, 60 seconds per minute.
Humph!!! Well, it’s my fault, my fault for bringing all the bad habits from Sabah to West Malaysia, in my hometown – Sandakan, Sabah, we have to put up with frequent water disruptions, my mother do not allow me to flush every time after I use the toilet !! We only have water supply twice a week, which is on Monday and Thursday; this is because my house is situated on top of a hill, for other low lying areas, they only got water supply at the most 3-4 times a week, this is the policy that is practiced way back in my hometown.
When I mentioned about my house toilet, you would be better prepared, it smells and stinks like there are no tomorrow, we only flush when the urine stench is really became unbearable, looking yellowish in colour, if we were to flush every time we finish using the toilet, then there will be no more water for us to bath.
Either you want to use the water to flush every time you finish using the toilet, or use the water to bath, you decide yourself. For those who bath and wash their hair twice a day, I really envy you guys, as we are only allowed to wash our hair on Monday and Thursday, the days when there are water supply coming in.
Talking about power supply in my hometown, on average in a month, we will be in total darkness for at least 72 hours; the highest record was no power supply for 8 hours a day for 1 whole week!! If there is no power disruption in Sabah, then it’s not Sabah, even the electricity company of Sabah, SESB confirms to this, where SESB stands for SABAH EVERYDAY SURE BLACKOUT. If there were no power supply for half an hour in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, tomorrow it will be the top news in the media, but for us Sabahans on the other side of Malaysia, being drenched in total darkness for few hours, causing traffics to go haywire, no one even bothered about us.
I still remember the first time I took my friends to visit my hometown, on the first night there was no power supply, so we sat in front of the house, gazing at the stars and the moon on the sky. If I were to say, standing outside my house, lifting up your finger and you may be able to touch the moon, where the moon is so bright that you can see your shadow, and you can even differentiate each and every sign of the zodiac, you have to believe me, because the air in my hometown is still unpolluted, pristine and fresh.
Anyway, with regards to the frequent disruption of water and electricity supply in Sabah, we have become acquainted with it, for more that 20 years that I have been living here, its still the same, things never changed for the better, we have learn not to resist and accept it as fate would have it.
This is us, Sabahans, always the simple, pure and innocent lot; we just grin and bear with it.
Hence the reasons why the Federal Government always likes to bully us Sabahans, they took away all our vast natural resources to develop Kuala Lumpur, sold away all our valuable timber logs, in exchange for high rise buildings in West Malaysia, sucked up Sabah’s petroleum, in order to built north-south expressways in West Malaysia.
Not to mention using Sabah’s orang utan in exchange with China’s panda, and have it keep in Zoo Negara in West Malaysia.
The Federal Government is so generous in donating monies to Sichuan, but aren’t capable of building better roads for Sabahans, it’s still the same after 45 years.
Sabah’s first flyover was recently completed, after being built for 8 years more, this make us Sabahans so happy and jumping with joy. That’s us, easily contented.
Sabah is a poor neglected state; she would weep if she were able to do so, each and every time, the government promised to solve the illegal immigrants issue plaguing the state, but the matter is still unsolved up until today, like the saying, to settle a matter by leaving it unsettled.
The illegal immigrants in Sabah has overwhelmed the local population at 1.7 million versus 1.5 million, and is increasing day by day, most of these illegal immigrants are from The Philippines and Indonesia, when last year it was briefly mentioned that The Philippines is interested in claming back Sabah, if a referendum were to be held, with the help of Filipinos residing in Sabah, we will be dead for sure, Philippines will be able to take Sabah back as theirs.
Needless to say, Sabah is not only without its frequent disruption of water and electricity supply, even job opportunities are hard to come by, causing all the youngsters to seek jobs in West Malaysia and other places.
Do you know that a bottle of yogurt that costs RM3.70 in West Malaysia cost Rm5.70 in Sabah, and all the magazines and newspapers in Sabah are more expensive if compared with West Malaysia? This is because all the goods have to be flown over from West Malaysia, where the courier charges will be included in the goods prices, therefore marking it up higher, the money that we earn are taxed by the Federal Government, these taxes that we pay are taken to develop Kuala Lumpur,
In Sabah there are still people that earn a meager RM200 per month, even worse off than those toilet cleaners in West Malaysia.
Every time I am back in Sabah, wherever I looked went and looked around; I can only manage to find mostly schooling youngsters. There is nothing much these youngsters can do for those that prefer not to leave Sabah. Last year, a few of my friends decided that after graduation, they will stay in Sabah, no matter what happens, at that time I thought that they are very naïve, West Malaysia especially Kuala Lumpur is such a nice place, what’s the reason to stay back in Sabah? They replied in jest, “If nobody is willing to stay in Sabah, how do we expect Sabah to stand up”, what they said make me realized my mistakes, but what to do, none of the jobs in Sabah are suitable for me; I have no choice but to continue working in West Malaysia.
Last month, my cousin quit his job and went back to Sabah, out of curiosity, I asked him the reason for doing so, since the wages in Sabah is so low, it’s not worth it, I told him. He retorted back, saying “West Malaysia is not my home, sooner or later I will be going back to Sabah, the place where I belong, and I surely believe there are companies willing to employ me.” I felt ashamed, as previously I planned to reside and have a family in West Malaysia, but what my cousin say woke me up, although I am now residing in West Malaysia, I should have given words of encouragement for my beloved state – Sabah.
If the land of Sabah was and is properly developed, surely it will be amongst the top states in Malaysia, but everything was trampled on, ruined and went the other way!!
Hence the reasons why those who stepped on the soil of Sabah will be given an immigration slip by the Customs department, only allowing non Sabahans to stay in Sabah for not more than 90 days.
If Sabah were not to protect herself, I dare not dread to think of the consequences that may befall us, it will be too ghastly to look at.
Up till today, for West Malaysians, Sabah is shrouded in secrecy and far away from their sight. No one is willing to come to Sabah, as if it’s a different world comprising of humans of uncivilized nature, for those youngsters who are going to be send to Sabah to undergo their National Service, they wept like there are no tomorrow, its like they are about to enter hell.
Is Sabah heaven or hell? Come and have a look for yourself, until today, only tourists from Western and other countries are willing to come to Sabah, a state once deemed to be more prosperous than Kuala Lumpur, in search of its glorious pasts.
In West Malaysians, there are only 3 major races; in Sabah, there are 32 ethnic tribes, most West Malaysians do not know of these facts.
East Malaysia is the place where all the different races and tribes, of different faiths and religions, live harmoniously; this, probably West Malaysians do not know either.
In Sabah, it’s a norm for Muslims to eat in non-Muslims eateries, to dine in Chinese seafood restaurants, without fear and prejudice of being served with non-halal foods; this is the kind of respect and trusts we have for each other. I don’t think this can be seen in West Malaysia, besides Kelantan, I would say.
Recently Giant hypermarkets make their presence known in Sabah; they are trying to control the Sabah supermarket segment, indirectly trying to control Sabah’s economy, but were rejected by Sabahans.
We in Sabah have our own newspapers; our own supermarkets, we do not need others to come in and reap our fruits of labour, all to be channeled back to West Malaysia!!
The country neglected East Malaysia – Sabah and Sarawak so much so that even 16th September 1963 was not recognized as the day Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak merged to form Malaysia. And out of nothing Malaysia boasted that Mount Kinabalu is the pride of all Malaysians.
Mount Kinabalu is the pride of Sabahans; the biggest flower in the world – Rafflesia is the pride of Sabahans, orang utans are also the pride of Sabahans; but we are not proud to be Malaysians.
Last but no least, as a Sabahan, I sincerely hope and pray that after 916, Sabah can gain back what she has lost all this while, for a better tomorrow for all Sabahans.
Hopefully the coming 16th September can be declared as the day, we East Malaysia – Sabah, Sarawak together with Malaya formed Malaysia! Dear Federal Government, please be fair to us!!
All the best Sabah!! I wish to see you grow; in the future, in the time to come!!
A TRUE SABAHAN