Villagers just want better lives

Reaching out: Madius talking to villagers during his campaign.

BEAUFORT: Over the years, many politicians have come and gone to Kampung Daingin on the foothills of the Crocker Range near the main road that links Kimanis to Sabah’s interior town of Keningau.

The arrival of politicians to the village of about 300 people, most of them farmers, attracted some of them to their ceramah.

But they remain sceptical of the promises that have yet to be delivered despite decades of support for the political parties.

Requests for a community hall and a road have yet to materialise.

The people here are mainly Kadazandusun and the village sits only 15km from bustling Papar town and 40km from the state capital.“The only thing that has changed is my hair. It has turned grey and the number of my age gets higher.

“Nothing else changed. Everything is the same in my village, ” said Rokinah Inun as she sat with her twin sister Rokiah to listen to Upko president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau campaigning for Parti Warisan Sabah’s Datuk Karim Bujang.

She said electricity is available but water is sourced from their own gravity water feeds.

“There is nothing more but a lot of promises were made during elections, ” she said as Madius explained the controversial Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS) to the Dusun villagers.

Rokinah told Madius of the unfulfilled promises when Madius sat down with her.

He lightened the mood as he took out his cap to show her and the villagers that he too was going bald with age, and promised to look into their plight.

Dotted along the mostly hilly terrains of the Kimanis constituency are mainly Kadazandusun villages with about 8,000 voters, who like Rokinah, feel left out of mainstream development over the decades, no matter which party ruled the state.

Their hope is for better amenities in their areas and opportunities for their children who are all leaving for better jobs outside the district.

Political parties are harping on PSS that will be issued to some 130,000 Filipino war refugees.

Warisan vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony spent a lot of time in the area countering the Barisan Nasional’s campaign on the issue.

Anthony explained that the PSS was just to replace three previous certificates issued to civil war refugees who ran to Sabah in the 1970s.

Barisan, through Sabah Umno and its loose coalition of Opposition parties of Parti Bersatu Sabah and Sabah STAR, insists that the programme be stopped, claiming that it was a licence for citizenships, which the ruling government denies.

“The Kadazandusun community cannot be taken for granted. You cannot go on playing with their emotions anymore, ” Anthony said, adding the community has been left behind for the last 50 years.

The PSS is still a contentious issue, especially with the Kadazandusun and Murut communities, as doubts continue to linger despite the state government explaining that it was a step towards resolving the long standing problem.

The Opposition is planning to hold a PSS protest at Membakut old town this Wednesday.

Warisan said that the PSS was approved by the Barisan government in 2015 under the name Sabah Resident Pass but did not announce it.

The Kadazandusun voters could be king-makers in this by-election, where Umno is trying to reset its hold on Sabah after losing in the GE14.

Barisan’s Datuk Mohamad Alamin is in a straight fight with Karim, both of whom were former Bongawan assemblymen.

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