KOTA KINABALU: It is indeed shocking to learn from the just released World Bank’s 2010 Malaysia Economic Monitor that ‘Sabah has about 10 per cent of the Malaysian population but more than 40 per cent of all poor people in Malaysia live in Sabah’.
The World Bank Report which was released on Wednesday, confirmed that Sabah is still the poorest state in the country and most Sabahans are still struggling to make ends meet, especially in the rural areas.
The World Bank Human Development director (East Asia and Pacific Region), Emmanuel Jimenez, said that: “…whatever poor people remaining in Malaysia, many of them are here in Sabah, and most of them live in the rural areas and from the ethnic groups such as the Rungus, Suluk and Orang Sungai”.
Melanie Chia, state assemblywoman for Luyang, questioned the federal and state governments on the allocations all these years purportedly to be spent on poverty eradication.
“The World Bank Report raises doubts on the effectiveness of Poverty Eradication Programs and Programs by the government to help the poor in Sabah.
“Millions have been spent over the years, but the poor people who were supposed to benefit from these programs remains poor,” Melanie lamented.
“I had in the state assembly, asked the government what are the plans and programs to raise the growth rates of the state in order to achieve high income status.
“I did not get any answer! With the release of this latest report by the World Bank which revealed that our people are not progressing, I hope the government can stop fooling us and be sincere to the people.
“Giving out money during elections and by-elections cannot cover up the true situation on the ground.
“Poor people remain poor and this will not help with the development and progress of our state,” said Melanie.
Another factor highlighted in the report was that people are paid poor salaries against the job they are doing.
It is said that those who are working may be poor, not because they are not working but because they are working in low paying jobs.
In the recent by-election in Batu Sapi, Melanie noted that the population in Batu Sapi remains poor because most of them are working in low paying jobs.
Some youths even disclosed to Melanie that they opted not to work because of the low salary they received.