Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee on Tuesday said:
1. Based on preliminary information, it seems that BN will spend more on the Permatang Pauh by-election than the RM 50 million that government is spending on tackling the illegal immigrant woes in Sabah and Labuan.
2. The national BN is already sending thousands of campaigners to Permatang Pauh. Knowing the extent and extravagance of BN campaigning, the costs will likely be in tens of millions of ringgit.
3. Sabah BN alone has announced sending hundreds of people to Permatang Pauh in Penang. UMNO Sabah leaders, youth, wanita, puteri and putera and BN components such as PBS are lining up to impress their federal leaders that they will diligently campaign to ensure a BN victory. For many UMNO divisional delegates, a trip to Permatang Pauh is also a joy trip for the on-going party divisional election campaign.
4. The costs of traveling, accommodation, food and campaigning will definitely amount to millions of ringgit. Where will this money come from? The money will not come from the national BN because the national BN is already near bankrupt by being unable to settle the (High Court) judgment debt of Ringgit 218 milllion as a result of the unpaid election bills of the 2004 general elections. It remains to be seen how the BN will settle the election debts of the March 2008 general elections. And now the BN has to face their most-feared opponent in a by-election.
5. We call on the Sabah government leaders not to allow Sabah to be the milking cow for the BN election debts of RM 218 million and for Permatang Pauh by-election. The reported RM 16 million purportedly sourced from Sabah and intended for the Permatang Pauh by-election that was intercepted by anti-money laundering law enforcement agencies in a foreign country lends credence to our worries.
6. SAPP asks the Sabah UMNO and other BN leaders whether it is in their conscience to waste Sabah peoples' money in this extravagant way.
7. At a time when large numbers of families in Sabah cannot afford an extra meal, people are struggling with petrol prices, children foregoing tuition classes, sick people missing out on medical treatment, tenants worried about over due rentals and electricity bills, the Sabah BN leaders must show that they care enough to do something about the peoples' livelihood. We all know that the worst is yet to come. By year end, families will face the prospects of higher school bus fares and various expenses related to schooling. Low income parents will have to make a heart breaking choice of either to send their kids back to school or to let them work in a tough job market due to economic stagnation with more jobless people. Inflation will rise beyond 8% and ordinary people will have to forgo some basic necessities of life.
8. On the part of SAPP, we shall only send a 3-cadre team to study the by-election for research purposes. Our 2 MPs might spend the week end parliament break to visit the constituency of Permatang Pauh with other MPs.