LUMPUR, 2 APRIL 1998
KL SHOULD ASSIST TO ALLEVIATE DROUGHT EFFECTS IN SABAH
LUMPUR, Thurs. - Bandau Member of Parliament Dr Maximus Ongkili
today urged the Federal Government to take concrete steps to assist
drought victims in Sabah in view of the limited financial resources
of the State Government.
in support of the motion of thanks for the Royal Address in parliament
last night, he said the adverse effects of the prolonged drought
in Sabah have reached magnitude proportions.
date about 152,000 people in Sabah are facing acute water shortage
and desperately require the assistance of the government for their
daily water requirement.
of the hill padi farmers in Kota Marudu, Kudat, Pitas, and Sugut
literally did not have any harvest from their crop this year because
of the destruction caused by the prolonged drought," he claimed.
Ongkili, who is also Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) deputy president
said many households in the hill areas of Kota Marudu and Pitas
were already facing food shortage.
the destructive drought continues, we estimate about 50,000 households
or one-third of those currently affected by water shortage will
also face severe food shortage by June because of their failed padi
crop," he stressed.
said the Federal Government should view the drought problem in Sabah
and Sarawak as a national problem and assist in providing
relief assistance to affected groups through the Federal Ministry
of Rural Development.
Ministry should also encourage and coordinate contributions by the
private sector national and international Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs) to supplement the efforts and assistance given at the State
level," he urged.
the national economy, Dr Ongkili cautioned that the present measures
introduced by the government to restore confidence in the capital
market and the economy as a whole may be ineffective given that
the problem is essentially private-sector in nature.
standard prescriptions of reducing government expenditure, curtailing
borrowing, promoting savings, and increasing taxes may not be effective
and perhaps misplaced for an economic problem that is private-sector
driven and not public-sector in nature," he argued.
is required is clear, transparent policy measures to assist firms
and other market players to plan, cope and adjust structurally to
the external economic turmoil facing the nation," he added.
Ongkili stressed that the government must be consistent and transparent
in its policies and economic reforms in order for the market to
pick the right signal and make the necessary economic adjustments
to cope with the crisis of confidence in the capital market.
urged the Finance Ministry to continue examining the impact of successive
policy initiatives introduced by the government, which he claimed
"thus far have failed to restore investor confidence especially
in the foreign exchange and capital markets."