Poverty in Sabah-Re-post of My sister's Blog Article
After years of independence in a country now ranked as developed following the Human Developed Index....
Go to: http://dreamyborneo.blog.com/4039664/ for the original source. I'll re-print it below. Never asked my sister...plagiarism ah?
Remembering Baby Lanora
In January 2008, I visited several villages in northern Sabah with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Unsealed dusty roads and homes built from plywood and zinc greeted us in Kanibongan, Pitas. I was not shocked as I had seen worse. But I was shocked and sad to the bone when we met a young mother who had to feed her baby with a mixture of rice and water because the family cannot afford to buy milk.
I have no idea how baby Lanora is today, 10 months after our visit. She suffers from epilepsy and though her parents have taken her to see the doctor, travelling to the nearby district hospital is a costly affair and when she has fits in the middle of the night, there is nothing much the family can do. Baby Lanora's story is just one of many in remote parts of Sabah, and I believe in other parts of Borneo too. Her mother, Isrin, is 20 and looks under-nourished, her father John is 50 and she has an older sister aged 5 years who thankfully is healthy. Her step-brother, who is 25 lives with the family in their one room hut is mentally ill. (John's son from his first marriage, his wife has passed away).
I wrote a feature published the same month in the New Sunday Times, titled "Empty Pockets on Rich Soil." How true. Sabah is a rich state, yet we have Baby Lanoras among us. I was told that a Sabah State agency disputed my piece, saying that John was crazy and that is why his family was in that condition. Well, from what I observed, the officers from the government agencies refused to even get near the house, so the question of claiming Baby Lanora's father is mad doesnt even rise.
The fact is: 42 per cent of children in Sabah are living in poverty based on latest findings by the UNDP. In other words, more than 4 in 10 children.
The fact is: The government has "spent" billions of ringgit to help these people. I wonder where the money has gone. Several billions more have been pledged. Either funding is being planned without taking into consideration the needs of poor people (what they need instead of imposing programmes on them), or some people have become very rich.
The question is: When will the talk stop? When will we see action?
Mum Isrin feeding Baby Lanora on 6th Jan 2008 at Kanibongan, Pitas, Sabah.
Isrin, Baby Lanora, John and the baby's older sister at their one-room home