RANAU April 17, 2012: STAR Ranau divisional head Jalibin Paidi has invited Karanaan assemblyman Datuk Masidi Manjun to visit several villages in Ranau to prove that it is the poorest district in Sabah.
“Masidi can follow our trip to Kampung Lipasu, or take the route to Kampung Lipantai or even to Kampung Tungou, so that along the way we may see all the hard evidences and living testimonies of poverty in Ranau.
“I may also take Masidi from Kampung Randagong to Kampung Tudan. Or we may also take the trips to Kaingaran and Kargasan or up to Tinanom for more evidences,” Jalibin said in a statement yesterday.
He was responding to Masidi’s challenge to him get his facts right before claiming that Ranau could be Sabah’s poorest district.
Being a veteran politician, Jalibin said Masidi should instead ask the Federal Government why Sabah’s more than RM35 billion collected annually in taxes by the Federal had contributed so little to the villagers.
He said the cabotage policy had ruined the villagers and thousands of youths from Ranau were in Peninsular Malaysia seeking jobs because there were no job opportunities here in Sabah.
“It has been 49 years of independence and yet many more families in Ranau, and I believe elsewhere in Sabah, still live in poverty.
“If Masidi takes up my offer, he would see many, many Sabahan families in Ranau still collect firewoods from the forests to cook their meals, get water supply from rivers or wells, those houses lit only by oil lamp, dilapidated schools and community halls, don’t mention phone lines and electricity and roads,” he said.
Masidi, who is also Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, replied that the government had never denied the fact that poor people could be found all over Sabah, including Ranau.
He said the government was doing all it could to eradicate hardcore poverty with programmes that were well publicised.
“However, we are not idealists who like to paint a good picture just to soothe the feelings of the people or make promises which are practically impossible to fulfill,” he said.
He added that there was no easy solution to poverty and he doubted that there could be a thing as total poverty eradication.