Monday, March 17, 2008


Patrick calls for people-oriented State Government


Consumer Association of Sabah and FT Labuan (Cash) President Datuk Patrick Sindu yesterday urged the newly- appointed State Cabinet to become a people-oriented Government. Calling the new Cabinet an “old batch of milk in a new container”, he said the onus is on the new line-up of Ministers to deliver equitable and sustainable development for all Malaysians in Sabah. “There has not been much change (in the Cabinet line-up). They really must work hard to meet the needs of the electorate and ensure the rights of the people are safeguarded,” he said in a telephone interview. “The main issue should be empowerment of the people, so they are not marginalised and to also alleviate their sufferings. “There has been an increase in poverty here, and I believe the Government needs to change its (delivery) system. It needs to reevaluate what it has done before, why there is poverty and why basic infrastructure in rural areas is not in place. “We must remember that two- thirds of the rural population is still without good roads, electricity or water ... the system has to change to meet the dire needs of the people,” he said. Patrick, who contested the Papar parliamentary seat as an independent in the recent elections, also urged for transparency and accountability on the part of the State Government, especially in its implementation of development programmes. “I have spoken to the people and they want the Cabinet to publicise what (programmes) they want to do, such as the SDC (Sabah Development Corridor). “It looks like the SDC will only benefit a few people in the business sector but not the people, who are still faced with a lack of basic needs,” he said. Patrick added that the State Government needs to address issues such as progress with the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigrants in Sabah, land issues pertaining to Native Customary Rights (NCR) land, corruption and the rising cost of living due to increasing oil prices. “I urge the new State Cabinet to intensify efforts towards becoming people-oriented and I call upon the Ministers to ensure their development plans meet the needs of the people ... five years is not a long time,” he said.