It takes more than subsidies to improve living standard in Sabah
KOTA KINABALU, March 1, 2012: The government should strive to improve the
livelihood of the rural people by improving their income, instead of just
implementing some superficial measures.
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Supreme Council member Carrie Fong said the
government should not be proud of itself for its so-called "price
standardisation project" which is poised to reach 1,022 areas nationwide this
Among items under the projects are sugar, flour, cooking oil and ST15 rice.
She said such a move shows that the people are largely still languish and
remained in poverty, so poor that they need assistance in their very basic
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"It shows that the government has failed to uplift the income of the rural folks
and has failed to solve this perpetual problem," she said.
Noting that the government is spending hundreds of millions of ringgit on
subsidy, and on transportation cost for the said four items i.e. sugar, flour,
cooking oil and ST15 rice, she asked: "What about other essential goods, such as
fertilizers, clothing, building materials, and other food products?"
On transportation alone RM200 million is spent each year to transport goods to
the interior in order to standardize prices, she noted.
She said in other words, the people in the rural area have to pay much more for
these other items.
Citing the case of rural Sarawak where the people there used to pay as much as
RM45 for a 10kg ST15 rice, but now pay RM18 due to allocation of transport
subsidy under the said project, she pointed out that although the price for the
said four items is now 2.5 times cheaper than before, it nonetheless also means
the rural folks are paying 2.5 times higher for everything else.
"The rural folks are poor, and yet they still have to pay higher price for many
other essential products," she said.
She was responding to the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism
Ministry's secretary-general Datuk Saripuddin Kasimís announcement of the said
project on Monday.
Fong thus asserted that the government should strive to better improve the road
infrastructure to reduce transport cost, assist to improve the livelihood of the
rural people by improving their earning ability.
"For instance, more agriculture assistance can be provided in the form of better
quality seeds, introducing better know-how and technology, particularly to the
small farmers," she cited.
She pointed out that under SAPP economic plan, land utilization will be studied
and implemented in order to generate income and accelerate economic growth of
"Rice planting, aquaculture and livestock breeding will be some of the targeted
areas SAPP government will pursue," she said.
Fong also blamed the existing Cabotage Policy for contributing to higher prices
in Sabah as compared to Peninsula Malaysia, as it unnecessarily causes higher
Noting that every resident in Sabah pays more for every imported product,
including raw materials for property development, manufacturing and other
industrial enterprises because of such an unfair policy benefiting the ruling
elites and their cronies, she promised that SAPP will definitely look into ways
to have the Cabotage Policy abolished, if it succeeds in forming the next State
"SAPP will pursue ways to improve the livelihood for all Malaysians living in
Sabah. All residents in Sabah pays more compared to West Malaysia, but rural
folks of Sabah are punished more severely due to poor basic infrastructure
planning," she concluded.