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<b>Sabah</b> poverty: Inefficient BN must step down, says DAP | Free <b>...</b>

Posted: 12 Jun 2011 10:19 PM PDT

DAP is puzzled as to why there are still hardcore poor in Sabah when the government had proclaimed that 'it will achieve zero poverty' status by 2010.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah DAP has asked the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to step down for admitting it could not do much for the poverty-stricken in the state.

Kota Kinabalu MP, Hiew King Cheu, said BN should let the Pakatan Rakyat take over the government if it wants the opposition to build houses for the hardcore poor in Sabah.

Hiew was responding to Kota Marudu MP Maximus Ongkili's recent challenge to the opposition in the state to build houses for the hardcore poor in his constituency after he was criticised for the prevailing hardcore poverty there.

The controversy grabbed attention around the country after the plight of Rosnia @ Annie Marambal, a poverty-stricken widow from Kota Marudu, who had appealed repeatedly for aid under the "e-kasih" programme but was ignored, caught the attention of Rosmah Mansor, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's wife.

An annoyed Ongkili, who was told that PKR leader Christina Liew had helped build a house for Rosnia and her three children, said: "The opposition is playing up this matter. So okay, go and build as many houses as you can.

"How many can you build? I invite Liew to build as many as you can. Just building one, you already make so much noise."

In a statement yesterday, Hiew said that it seemed that the one small house built by PKR Sabah for Rosnia in response to her plight has attracted Ongkili's prompt attention.

Hiew, however, contended that Maximus' challenge to the opposition had exposed his incompetence and failure to improve the living condition of his constituents.

"His challenge to the Pakatan to build some 1,800 houses for the other hardcore poor is really an insult to himself, especially when he revealed in his statement that he got only a mere RM500,00 from the prime minister, which is only enough for the maintenance and repair of the houses for six months," said Hiew.

Hardcore poor

Ongkili, who is also Federal Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, also noted that the BN government only has a small allocation available to build 90 houses for the hardcore poor in Kota Marudu, when the actual need is around 2,000 units.

"What about those who needed houses in Kinabatangan, Ulu Tuaran, Pensiangan, and Kota Belud," asked Ongkili.

Hiew also thanked Ongkili for telling the truth about the seriousness of hardcore poverty in his constituency.

"We cannot understand why there is still such a huge number of our fellow countrymen living in hardcore poverty.

"He (Ongkili) even dared to say that there are still as many as 2,000 or more hardcore poor in his constituency," he said.

Hiew said Ongkili's admission that hardcore poverty exists in his consituency was clear evidence that he had failed to perform his duty as an elected representative all these years, despite being a federal minister.

He also said that this is also testimony that the BN government has failed to eradicate poverty in Sabah, despite the constant boasts and claims of successful poverty eradication in the past.

He recalled that the state government had previously proclaimed that Sabah will achieve "zero poverty" status by 2010.

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