Petronas, Felda ignoring cry for help in Sabah
The stark discrimination was on display recently when the two corporate giants trumpeted their generosity to flood victims in the peninsula in the media.
“If Petronas can contribute RM50 million to flood victims in peninsula why can’t they assist us too?” asked Abdul Wahid Jainal, a political leader here whose office has been swamped by appeals for help.
The PKR Silam division chairman said it was shameful that neither the oil and gas giant nor Felda whose land in Tungku is the largest oil palm plantation in the country had come forward to assist flood victims in Silam which encompasses Tungku.
Both the peninsula-headquartered companies are in the crosshairs of critics in Sabah who are demanding to know how they could behave so callously when they had been operating in Sabah for decades and accumulating profits amounting to hundreds of billions of ringgit.
“What has Felda contributed to Silam? Nothing,” said an outraged Abdul Wahid.
He said the giant, self-contained agro-based enterprise was cut off from reality having created their own township and businesses which get their supplies directly from the peninsula thereby by-passing Sabah-based businesses.
“They even have their own port in Sahabat 16 and have opened up sundry shops, airline ticketing and other services in town here to compete with small local businesses.
“Sadly these big federal companies only came here to rip off big profits and ignore the suffering of those hit by the flooding which happens every year and is getting worse,” said Abdul Wahid.
Also in his line of fire were the local government authorities for not only ignoring the plight of the flood victims but also failing to implement a flood mitigation programme to bring an end to the annual floods that makes roads impassable, isolating plantations, refineries, mills and factories for days or even weeks.
“I was made to understand that many houses, vehicles and even heavy vehicles in plantations were submerged under flood water.
“Many businesses have suffered huge losses particularly small plantations holders,” said Abdul Wahid.
While the flooding problem has been know for years, the government has gone ahead with costly beautification programmes with an eye to upgrading the district to municipality by 2015.