Anwar continues to be the darling of Sabah, despite attempts to downplay the accomplishments in a single year



KOTA KINABALU: When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim travels to Tenom on Thursday to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the RM4 billion hydroelectric dam project in Ulu Padas, his administration has just turned one year old.

Ironically, some people in this state, despite the Prime Minister’s best efforts, appear to “underestimate” what he has accomplished in such a short time, particularly when it comes to the people’s interests or the 1963 Malaysian Agreement (MA63).

Other leaders are becoming more vocal about their political struggles, particularly with regard to MA63, which is obfuscating the public’s view by casting the Prime Minister in a negative light, as though he is not doing anything positive for Sabah.

These strong voices, according to numerous local political observers, were hardly heard during the three years of the previous federal government led by Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Only after Anwar assumed office as Prime Minister, nominated a Deputy Prime Minister from Borneo, and granted the populace the right to free speech did the “once-mute leaders” suddenly become bold, outspoken, and eager to project themselves to the public as genuine MA63 fighters, particularly in the run-up to the pivotal state elections that will ultimately decide their political fate.

Is it true that Anwar has not done anything for the good of the people of Sabah in the last year?

According to local political analyst Musli Oli, the people of Sabah need to evaluate the Prime Minister’s achievements objectively and based on facts and not be influenced by political rhetoric or mere political drama.

He said among the good news announced by the Prime Minister for Sabah was the increase in the allocation in the 2024 Budget for development in the state to RM6.6 billion.

The Federal Unity Government has also delegated the authority to implement development projects below the value of RM50 million to technical agencies in the two states to increase the effectiveness of the implementation of the projects involved.

In addition, he said the Unity Government has also increased the interim special grant rate for Sabah to RM300 million, compared to only RM125.6 million for Sabah before.

This does not include the handing over of SESB to the Sabah government, an allocation of RM40 million to improve infrastructure and facilities, especially the staff quarters of the Sabah East Coast Special Security Area (ESSCom) in Lahad Datu, and an allocation of RM320 million to solve short-term water supply problems in Sabah, he said.

Apart from that, Musli said the Prime Minister entrusted Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof to settle the unresolved demands of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), and although it has not yet been fully realized, efforts are being made to achieve the desired result under the Unity Federal government.

Based on his observations, Musli thinks that Anwar’s achievements during one year to bring about the development of Sabah are the best as Prime Minister so far, relatively compared to any previous prime minister in the first year of administration.

He expects more development will be brought to Sabah by the Prime Minister in the coming years.

“As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day. I believe Anwar can do much better for Sabah,” he said.

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