(KOTA KINABALU, September 19, 2020)
Sabah’s major problems of economic slump, closure of businesses, corporate failures, joblessness, bankruptcy are causing untold sufferings.
I came across aeroplane pilots, civil engineers, tour guides and other professionals who are now competing in the crowded e-hailing market just to earn a living.
According to a report by Institute for Development Studies (IDS), Sabah registered the highest unemployment of 5.8% in 2019, which is 117,000 unemployment including 27,419 graduates. The unemployment rate would only be higher in 2020, due to the Covid-19 and MCO.
IDS reported if this is not addressed well, through a well-targeted stimulus package, Sabah’s economy could contract to between -8.0% to -11% and dive into a deep recession this year.
Sabah itself with a declining GDP and shrinking state reserve fund that is “yet to be revealed” and it seemed impossible that Sabah could further endure such a crisis on its own.
We need to take big steps, combining efforts of both Sabah and the federal government to immediately implement recovery plans for short and long terms, in order to be able to create business and job opportunities.
Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government is aligned with the federal government, if given mandate by Sabahans in coming PRN16.
The Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin pledged to revive Sabah economy in agriculture, aquaculture, industrialisation and plenty of experienced and skilled workforces are required. With the assurances given by the prime minister, we should take up the offers and waste no time on too much politics.
Sabahans must get real in PRN16, choose the correct path wisely and don’t be misled by unrealistic rhetoric.
Datuk Richard Yong
SAPP Secretary-General / Deputy President