What ‘change’? Warisan youth chief asks Khairy

Azis (left) said that many Sabahans felt that progress in the state was too slow and they have waited long enough.

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 14 — Warisan youth chief Datuk Azis Jamman has hit back at Barisan Nasional (BN) youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin for saying that only the ruling coalition could bring change to Sabah’s young people.

Azis said that on the contrary, Sabahan youths have been waiting for decades for “change” in Sabah, but have seen little development and decreasing benefits for them under BN rule.

“He gave the Pan Borneo highway as the only example of BN fulfilling their promises. But highways are everywhere in West Malaysia and we have been waiting for that for years, and it's not even completed.

“Parts that are completed are reportedly shoddy work and are creating more problems, so what does that say?” he asked.

Azis said that as a youngster, he was told BN first promised development under the Vision 2020 plan, but that has fallen short.

“I’m now 43 and now we have a new vision — TN50. What next? TN80? I will be in my 70s and waited my whole life for this change,” he said.

He was responding to a news report quoting Khairy telling Sabahan youths not to be swayed by the Opposition giving false hopes and promises. He had said that the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah and hefty allocations in the annual budget was evidence of the change happening in Sabah.

“But does he realise that thousands of youths from here have had to fly to West Malaysia just to find jobs and they end up working with factories in KL and Johor? This is because they can’t find jobs here. Factories which do open here have closed down,” he said.

He said youths here are also at the losing end when it came to furthering their education and scholarships were harder to come by now.

“How many Sabahans get scholarships? In the Public Service Department, scholarships are harder and harder to come by. Mara did not even give out scholarships here till Shafie’s time,” he said, referring to party president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal who helmed the Rural and Regional Development Ministry which oversees Majlis Amanah Rakyat.

“How is it that we have so many resources like oil and gas and (previously) timber, but no job opportunities for our youth?

“We have had to fight for everything we have now, like a Sabahan for vice chancellor in UMS (Universiti Malaysia Sabah). How many Sabahans end up in high-ranking positions in our civil service?” asked Azis.

Azis said that many Sabahans felt that progress in the state was too slow and they have waited long enough.

“At the end of the day, BN should not be the one talking about false hopes,” he said.