KOTA KINABALU 3/11/2012: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun has admitted he used to work as a labourer earning RM5 a day and he feels that poverty in Sabah is mainly due to the mindset of its people and primarily the Bumiputras.
“It is not just due to the lack of infrastructure, but due to the mindset of our people, our youngsters. People might get mad with me for making this statement but this is the reality. We need to encourage our people, coax them to work hard and change their mindset.
“We complain about Sabah not having enough work opportunity, yet there are 300,000 foreigners working in Sabah. It is simply not logical for us to say that there is a lack of jobs out there when 300,000 foreigners are working in Sabah. Yet our people remain unemployed,”
Masidi implied that this was because the people wanted good high-level jobs.
“Why can’t our people be like the Chinese? They will never want to be implied as still dependent on their family. They are ashamed when they are unemployed. It doesn’t matter if they don’t have a Master’s degree or other qualification. But for them, they must have work,” he said.
Masidi added that there were presently 200,000 jobs waiting for Sabahans to fill up at the plantation sector, if only they were willing to take it up.
“I was told by a supervisor at one of these plantations that even the worst of times, a worker can get at least RM1,400 a month. The good ones, the ones that work hard can even get RM2,000.
“People might say to me that I don’t know what I am saying because I am working comfortably as minister. But I am not ashamed to admit that I used to work as a labourer, earning RM5 a day.”
He added that the locals are always expressing their anger towards foreigners and illegal immigrants, whom they blame for taking over the jobs opportunities.
“But our own people don’t want to take over their work. For the business owners to continue operating, they need to employ people. And if our own people refuse to take such jobs, they have to take in foreign labour. They come alone, at first, tomorrow they bring their wife, the next day their children and the next comes their entire family.”
He cited that in Kundasang, the Timorese men were earning better than the local Dusuns because they were hardworking.
“They even speak better Dusun than me,” he said.
He added that this Kundasang issue was a Sabah issue because one can see its prevalence throughout the whole of the State.
“Where can you find locals selling watermelons when you drive through to Beaufort? There is none. It is the outsider who is doing it … I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, the locals will have to work for the outsiders because the latter have done better, achieved better. We complain to the government, but we have ourselves to blame.”
“Even with the change of government, nothing will change unless the people themselves change their mindset,” he said.
Masidi who was speaking during a dinner for school principals in Sabah at the Grand Borneo Hotel near here on Thursday evening, pointed out the role of educators and the Education Department is to ensure all children in Sabah get access to education and the opportunity to improve their life.
He said that they should focus on fulfilling their role to provide education to all Sabahan children and not so much on scoring 5A’s in examination.
“Scoring 5A’s is, for me, just scores. But allowing and ensuring all children access to education allows them to improve their life in the future. They will have the maximum opportunity to do this through education,” said Masidi who is also the education exco for Sabah.
by Jenne Lajiun