Sabah's surging nativism boils down to economic issues

Low incomes, poor infrastructure, migrant influx among factors in play as state polls loom

When undergraduate Veveonah Mosibin uploaded a video of herself climbing a tree in the northern tip of Sabah in June to get Internet access for an online exam, it quickly became a viral icon of the lack of infrastructural development in Malaysia's second-poorest state.

But it was only when snap polls were called in July - after defectors deprived Chief Minister Shafie Apdal of control of the state legislature - that it became a touchpaper political issue.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 20, 2020, with the headline 'Sabah's surging nativism boils down to economic issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe