Today is the eve of Malaysia Day, which falls on the 16th September every year..
I am not going into the formation of Malaysia since after 46 years, Malaysians should have known about how Malaysia was formed and how Singapore, an initial member of Malaysia, was pushed out of Malaysia.
For the chronology of the formation of Malaysia, you can view here.
What I am more interested to post ask is this: have East Malaysia been getting as much development as West Malaysia over the years?
There was a report yesterday mentioning that the poverty rate has come down in Sabah.. To view the article, go here (from mysinchew). I will quote one paragraph of the article here:
Based on the Mid Term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), the poverty rate in Sabah has dropped to 16 per cent as compared to 23.0 per cent in 2004.
The writer is obviously very impressed with the dipping of poverty rate of Sabah. I can tell you, over the years, even Timbaktu would have certain improvements…There is really nothing to cheer about to have 16% pf poverty.
We need more objective comparison to see how it fares compared to its peers.
The poverty rate in Sabah, according to the report above, is still around 16% making it one of the poorest states. Compare this with the table below (from Asian Economic and Development Issues volume 12):
This table is an old table taken from an earlier Malaysian Plan. Even as far back as 1999, poverty rate for whole of Malaysia is only 7.5%, much lower than Sabah today..
I do not need to tell you how Sarawak fares… The figures, both taken from Malaysian plans, show the disparity between National poverty level and Sabah’s poverty level..
Are East Malaysia states getting as much development as those in the West? If they are not, why?
And things are much dearer in Sabah than West Malaysia. Just look at your newspaper.For example Star. It is sold at 1.20 here, but 1.80 in Sabah and Sarawak.
When we talk about fairness, we should allocate more development to the Eastern States. These states have been filling the national coffers with their petrol and timber money, and in return, there should be proportional development for them , since they are as much a part of Malaysia as we do.
We should improve the infrastructure there, especially road transport, schools, hospitals, so that those people who are in the interior can have easier access to outer world and better healthcare and education, and by so doing,they would be able to sell their produce and craft to the outside world, and can have better educational opportunities to lift them out from poverty.
Utilties such as water and electricity should be made available to more people and with the opening up of more roads, expansion of utility will be easier.
After 46 years, I just want to ask: are we doing enough for our brothers in the Eastern States?
I let you ponder on this while we count down to Malaysia Day.