7/10/2012: OVER the last week, there had been two pieces of heart-warming news for Sabahans - firstly, the AG [Auditor-General] Tan Sri Ambrin bin Buang has again praised Sabah for prudential financial management.
Secondly, Sabah has jumped to 2nd position as an investment destination in Malaysia for the first seven months of this year.
The AG has given Sabah a "certificate without reprimand" which is a significant signal of the continuation of improvements in the governance of Sabah. Credit must be given where it due as Ambrin, who has no hesitation to highlight wrongs like the National Feedlots and give credit to opposition states like Selangor and Penang, is well known for being "without fear or favour" in his assessment.
Consistent Improvements in good governance is critical for economic development.
After so many years as the "economic underdog state" of Malaysia, it should give all Sabahans a good feeling and a certain degree of new hope and confidence to see that Sabah's position as an investment destination has jumped from our "traditional bottom" place to 2nd position, only after Selangor.
Of particular satisfaction is that we have surpassed Penang and Sarawak!
Sabah has attracted RM4.83 billion [RM4.62 billion in domestic investment and RM208.6 million from foreign investors] with more in the pipeline from Petronas and other oil and gas related investment from Malaysian and foreign companies.
Though there are little details on the type of investment that has come to Sabah available at this stage, I rather suspect that most of it is oil and gas related. Such a development is to be expected as investors are being attracted by the rapidly increasing production of oil and gas in Sabah and is in line with Sabah's status as the biggest oil and gas producer state in the country.
Good governance and steady inflows of investment are 2 essential and critical components for economic development. For Sabah to benefit fully from the oil and gas related investments, we must have continuous first class quality political leadership.
The oil and gas industry is a "short term and highly extractive" industry.
Many places in US and other places in the world have seen the "boom and bust" syndrome - boom when there is oil and gas. Turned into "Ghost Towns" when the deposits have become uneconomical or depleted.
In our own backyard, we have seen the Mamut Copper mine being completely exploited by the Japanese.
All Sabah has got for the next 1,000 years is a huge poisonous wasteland and the biggest man-made hole in Malaysia. We will continue to count the human cost from the chemicals used for copper/gold processing for many generations!
No thanks to greedy political leaders in the past with only foresight for fill up their own wallets.
With our improving governance and stronger inflow of investment in the oil and gas industry, it is time for Sabah, as the largest oil and gas producing state, to ask the Prime Minister for effective representation on the Board of Petronas.
There are 14 Board members now [not one of them is from Sabah].
Sabah's position will become increasingly important as our production increases.
This should entitle us to have at least 4 Board members.
This is only 28pc of the Board.
Why ask for Board representation? For the following reasons:
-  Sabah is or will be the biggest oil and gas producer;
-  5pc royalty, in term of Ringgit, will increase substantially in the near future.
- This will form a very substantial component of the Sabah's budget;
-  Should PR be elected into Government, the 20pc royalty it has promised will be even much larger;
-  Sabah needs to ensure that a fair share of the investment in oil and gas industry will be located in Sabah; and
-  Most importantly, Sabah must ensure that the oil and gas industry will continue after our supply of oil and gas has been exhausted.
By: John Lo
“It is the government’s intention to appoint as many as possible the Sabah and Sarawak bumiputeras, regardless their religion, to hold important posts not just at Petronas, but also other government agencies.
“It is because of that, opportunities for employment, training in technical field are provided for them,”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop