Sabah, Sarawak demand more

(The Star) – Sabah’s Kadazandusun and Sarawak’s Dayak groups said they would forward new proposals to the Federal Government to narrow the economic disparity with peninsular Malaysia.

The new demands were made following a meeting of Kadazandusun leader Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Sarawak Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Tan Sri Leo Moggie and Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Frederick Lojingki during a joint Gawai festival on Saturday.

Among others, they wanted:

> THE Federal Government to review all existing government contracts in Sarawak and Sabah handled by Sarawakian and Sabahan bumiputra contractors with the aim of revising upwards the contract costs;

> A TOTAL revamp of the New Economic Policy (NEP), which had failed to do justice to non-Muslim bumiputras of Sabah and Sarawak;

> CONTRACTORS from Sabah and Sarawak to be given more opportunities to handle federal projects because they are not getting the same chances as their counterparts in the peninsula; and

> THE Federal Government to include one senior leader from Sabah and Sarawak each to be attached to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).

Dompok said he would forward the proposals to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi soon.

Addressing some 1,000 Dayak and Kadazandusun community leaders here, Dompok said the 1.5 million Dayaks in Sarawak and one million Kadazandusuns in Sabah have found themselves now even further behind following the rise in fuel prices and escalating costs of living.

“There is a unit in the EPU to look into the welfare of the minority bumiputras in Sabah and Sarawak.

“This unit failed to function properly. The welfare of the non-Muslim bumiputras in east Malaysia has not been taken care of because the people in charge of this unit do not know our needs,” Dompok said.

Moggie said bumiputra contractors in east Malaysia wanted the existing contracts with the Government to be reviewed and for the Government to pay them more than before.

Lojingki said his chamber wanted the NEP revamped with a fairer policy, saying that the NEP had failed to improve the standard of the Dayaks and Kadazandusuns.

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