Voters won’t gamble with future – Musa

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CM Tan Sri Musa Aman during the interview with CNBC Asia yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is confident the people will trust the Barisan Nasional (BN) and will not gamble with Sabah’s future in the 14th general election (GE14).

“Our voters are much more mature now and will assess the performance of the government and the opposition – whether they are sincere in serving the people or just out for power,” he said.

Musa said the key issue to be considered is has Barisan Nasional delivered on its promises over the last five years and made life better for the people.

“My government’s track record over the past 15 years is clear. We have brought political stability, improved community wellbeing and welfare of the people, peace and harmony, aggressively pushed Investments and growth to diversify the economy and raise incomes, paving the way for greater economic growth,” he said in an interview with CNBC Asia yesterday.

The Chief Minister was asked about his expectation for the upcoming general election.

He said that in the run-up to GE14, the spread of information and news through digital and social media made it critical for BN to ensure they are sharing their success stories online, while correcting the lies and fake news immediately.

“It’s important that the rural community understand and actually feel the impact of the development they have asked for.

“Sabah BN has worked very hard to ensure we listen to the people. We are confident the people trust us will not gamble with Sabah’s future,” he said.

On the current political landscape of Sabah, Musa said the political cooperation among the Barisan Nasional component parties is very good.

“My Cabinet ministers coming from the diverse communities across Sabah are working closely together to ensure the bridges we have built to maintain stability, peace and economic growth is maintained. This is the same team with me since 2009. Of course, we have our differences but I have always said there’s alway room for discussion to resolve whatever issues brought to the table.

“We have also maintained very close Sabah-Federal relations. Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib has been very attentive to Sabah’s needs and receptive to requests for Federal  allocations for infrastructure projects (RM4.3 billion in 2017) in six different segments – housing, road, electricity and water facilities in the rural areas, poverty eradication programmes and other projects.

“A special committee set up in 2015 to address the Rights of Sabah in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 has focused on restoring Sabah rights fully. Significant progress has been made already. The PM himself has said that if Federal had inadvertently taken away those rights, they will be restored. He’s the first PM to even address this issue,” he pointed out.

During election season, he said it is normal to see all types of political pacts making all kinds of promises.  Some new parties have been formed just to try their luck at the coming elections without clear long-term policies or strategies for betterment of Sabah. Disgruntled members of the opposition are now forming unholiest of  alliances stirring up racial and religious sentiments.

Their irresponsible actions have potential to disunite and shake the foundations of the political stability, peace and economic prosperity Sabah has enjoyed over the past 15 years.

 

The rest of the interview

 

Can you tell us about the Economic landscape of Sabah?

 

• Sabah’s economy ranks number five among Malaysian states with a growth rate of 6.1% in 2015, the highest in Malaysia.

• GDP increase from RM59.3 billion in 2011 to RM73.8 billion in 2016,

• Our income has diversified away from primary commodities to services (30%), tourism (10%)  and manufacturing (8%).

• We have increased Per Capita GDP from RM11,000 to RM20,000 between 2005 – 2017.

• Increase in median monthly household income from RM3,745 to RM4,110 between 2014 – 2016 putting Sabah ahead of other states.

• We have reduced hardcore poor (earning less than RM800 per month) from 25% to 5%  between 2005 and 2017

• The Sabah’s Economic Blueprint – Halatuju Sabah that I launched in 2004, focusing on tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and human resource development is now bearing fruit.

• We established the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) in 2008 and Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) was launched the same year.

• The infrastructure, property, oil and gas, manufacturing, plantation and tourism sectors will be main drivers and are growing at a healthy rate in Sabah over the past 15 years.

• They are prime movers of future state economic growth and will change the landscape of Sabah in coming years.

• Implementation of projects, such as the Pan-Borneo Highway, Sabah International Convention Centre (to be completed end 2018) and Tanjung Aru Eco Development will boost infrastructure, tourism and economic spinoffs in the state.

• Planning  for youth entrepreneur development  is underway. This is to create jobs and encourage entrepreneurship among Sabahans, an area that has been lacking over the years.

 

What are the opportunities ahead for Sabah

 

• Federal government has expanded provision of previously non-existent basic facilities such as electricity, better and new housing and roads and bridges in many rural areas.

• Focus has been given to sharing the state’s wealth with those in need in rural areas via programs such as building of new schools and provision of more community facilities.

• Illegal logging activities have been curbed, carbon footprint and environmental concerns vis a vis oil palm plantations and other heavy industries in Sabah have been given weight and supported.

• The focus to develop the oil and gas industry continues with the:

Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (SOGIP) – expected to create RM12 billion and generate 30,000 jobs by 2021; SAMUR Ammonia & Urea manufacturing plant (Petronas Chemicals), that will provide RM1.5 billion, generating 500 jobs; Kimanis 300 MW Power Plant Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT) in Kimanis;

Sabah, Sarawak Gas Pipeline (SSGP) from Kimanis to Bintulu; Sabah also had a 20% equity in a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) together with Petronas Carigali & Sapura Kencana.

These are major developments for the oil and gas industry in Sabah and will create spinoffs in the surrounding areas.

 

• Palm Oil

 

We also realized that being the largest producer of CPO in Malaysia, we needed to shift our focus on downstream processing of oil palm. As such, we decided to set up the

Lahad Datu’s Palm Oil Industrial Cluster that is expected to generate 10,000 jobs by 2020 and Sandakan Palm Oil Industrial Cluster  generating 1708 jobs

 

• Agribusiness

 

There’s also potential in agribusiness. So we developed the Keningau Integrated Livestock Valley (RM678 million investment) giving 1,000 jobs and investment by Annam Corporation subsidiary of Brunei Investment Agency

 

• Manufacturing

 

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector recorded accumulated investment value of RM10.48 billion, creating 11,416 jobs from 2013 to June 2017 and Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park – RM4.7 billion investment – 23,000 jobs by 2020

 

5. Any other points to raise?

 

We have ensured no kidnappings in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), covering 1,400km of the east coast from Kudat to Tawau for the whole of 2017.

We are serious about the non-documented foreigners and worked very hard to deport 93,315 illegal immigrants between 2013 – 2017.

Communities of all races and religions have lived well together as they have been given more state allocations by the Sabah government for the building of many new mosques, churches and places of worship to foster harmony.

Allocations of RM333.99 million for Chinese schools and missionary schools and non-Islamic religious houses of worship in Sabah from 2004 to 2017.

In 2017 alone, I have approved financial aid to the tune of RM31.4 million  to non-Islamic bodies and schools in 2017 which will benefit 551 religious bodies, including churches, Chinese temples, Hindu and Sikh places of worship, and Chinese and mission schools and kindergartens.

I and my colleagues in government and BN Sabah are very positive on the future of Sabah and are confident the voters and investors trust us to do what is best for them for the future for political stability, community harmony and economic prosperity.