Tomorrow(April 16, 2011):Give Yourself a Chance

April 15, 2011

SakAK47: Sarawakians do yourself a favour

For once, the people of Sarawak must do themselves a favour. Give yourselves a chance. Not give others a chance. They have had 30 years. You only need this one chance. This is your hour. Let your progeny say in future, this was your finest hour.

This is your chance to regain your dignity and pride as a decent human being. Give yourselves the chance to determine your own destiny. Or, at the very least, show to those in power that you matter. There is nothing to fear except fear itself.

Show those in power they can’t scare you with the presence of coercive instruments of power. The police and the army guarding your longhouses are there protecting you. Those Rela people out there are only there for a brief time. What’s left is how you determined your life.

Throw out corruption. Throw out incompetence. Throw out a lifetime of neglect. Reject the bullies.

Give your children and grandchildren the chance. Say it’s enough. You gave Taib Mahmud 30 years of chance. He has taken everything. He has taken the most precious thing from you — your sense of self-worth. Will the Dayaks continue to be complicit in the charade of showing they are only good at performing the ngajat dance and, in that process, be regarded as nothing more than objects of cultural curiosity?

Will that treatment give you decent housing, clean water, electricity? Has it given you that? Remember the misery of walking miles down the road to get a can of kerosene. Don’t forget the humiliation of being given portable computers where electricity is non-existent. Remember forests and the trees that are gone forever.

Can the heads with the same set thinking usher in a better future? The answer must be an emphatic NO. How can the SAME thinking coming out from the SAME heads, accustomed to keeping entire peoples in callous disregard, unchallenged incompetence and open arrogance, be capable of turning over a new leaf? Agreeing to this proposition is self-deceit of the highest order. It’s a crime against humanity itself.

In a previous lifetime of glory and pride, the only solution that Sarawakians are renowned for is to cut off their enemy’s head. Those in power are no longer your benefactors. They stand on the side of the enemy of the people.

If you give Taib and his government another chance, it means you are willing to allow him to perpetuate years of neglect, corruption incompetence and arrogance. It’s not going to be enough. It will be 30 years of the SAME neglect, incompetence and arrogance and corruption.

For 30 years, the chance to give yourself a decent living and the chance to give yourself dignity has been forcibly taken away. It has been taken away by 30 years of neglect, negligence and arrogance. The neglect exemplified most horribly by the waste laid bare on your land which forms the very spring and essence of your life.

What has the majority of the Sarawak people achieved? The fruits of development enjoyed by the elite while the majority languished in a world that time seem to forget? After 30 years, 6,000 longhouses are still without electricity and water in a state which boasts the biggest hydro dam?

This Sunday, dubbed Super Sunday will be judgment day for Taib Mahmud and his ruling PBB and his partner parties. These past weeks are the trial that leads to that judgment day. What is the purpose of the judgment day?

The purpose of that judgment day is for the court of the people to call up those who manage the state to account for what they have done.That in essence is what accountability means. You are called up to account for the things you have done.

What has Taib and his party done to Sarawak for the last 30 years? Taib and his cabal of leaders have brought much development to Sarawak. To free Sarawakians from a primitive state of affairs — underdevelopment, stunted growth, primitive lifestyles, civilising the natives, bringing them into the 20th century and beyond.

All that, said the wise people, is spectacular development. Sterling! Screamed some people with lard-laden brains. The people of Sarawak have only one response to give to Taib and his cabal of leaders — continue giving us the lies, we shall not stop uncovering the truths.

Right now, you have only one historic mission. Get Taib to step down as chief minister. Showing him the exit is the single most potent weapon and burning issue against the Barisan Nasional in the state election. Whoever sides with Taib stands for corruption and against the people.

Getting him out has united Sarawakians . This shared thinking is possible because 30 years of his kleptocratic rule as chief minister has bred and entrenched the habits of non-accountability, lack of transparency and absence decency of good governance. Remember kleptocracy is associated with the meaning of thief and theft.

That is none better illustrated by the mountain of allegations on abuses of power and rampant corruption under his rule which he has not been able to rebut. Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not unaware of what is happening to Sarawak with Taib at the helm, but Najib appears to have been immobilised by the phalanx of bomohs and witches surrounding Taib.

It is obvious Najib is even powerless to have Taib committed to an early date to step down . The PM has repeatedly been rebuffed by the chief minister and there is nothing the prime minister can do about it.

Taib is not an UMNO member and his reaction to the PM’s announcement that Taib will leave office is like telling the PM  “get off” from his turf. Taib is saying: who are you to tell me what to do with my office, in my state? Sarawak is Taib’s country. The PM can’t do anything, but the people of Sarawak can.

Give yourselves that chance. Don’t turn to others for succour. —

From The Star re RPK TV3 Interview

April 14, 2011

Thanks, CLF for this tribute to Jonathan Livingstone Deagull

From The Star: Din is not in cahoots with Raja Petra

PETALING JAYA: Blogger Din Merican, who was named by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin as one of the individuals implicating the Prime Minister’s wife in the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, has denied that he was involved.

In expressing his shock over being named by RPK in the TV3 interview, he said he had no idea that RPK had planned to sign a statutory declaration implicating Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was the Deputy Prime Minister then, and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in the murder.

Din said he was never part of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s inner circle planning such strategies.

“I was part of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s team, not Anwar’s. And at that time, people were fed up with Pak Lah (former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi). It had nothing to do with trying to stop Najib from succeeding Pak Lah. Also, I have never implicated Najib. In my blog, I focus on issues, not baseless allegations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Anwar posted a two-word Twitter reply to queries raised by the online community on RPK’s revelation.

“Sarawak election,” said Anwar in his tweet yesterday, after a person called sivamsubang tweeted that RPK’s revelation was another slander against the Opposition Leader.

John Pang, another person named by RPK in the interview, could not be reached for comment.

One Man’s Recalcitrance costly for Barisan Nasional

April 13, 2011

One Man’s Recalcitrance costly for Barisan Nasional

The Malaysian Insider reports:

With three days before polling, all is not well within the Barisan Nasional (BN) camp in Sarawak — and it is down to one man’s stubbornness.

BN officials on the campaign trail say that Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s reluctance to set an exit timetable, his unwillingness to accept that the ruling coalition is facing a tough challenge from the Opposition and reliance on people outside political circle, including a psychic, is a major headache in the home stretch before Saturday’s poll.

BN officials are particularly upset over Taib’s decision to refuse to accept that he has become a lightning rod for every negative about the ruling coalition in Sarawak.

“PM offering him a way out early was to help damage control and also give Taib the best way to set his own stage for standing down. But he has completely disregarded the interests of BN for his own interest,” a BN source told The Malaysian Insider, referring to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s assurance of a quicker leadership change.

BN officials say there is no chance of losing the state but Taib’s continued stay will cost them more seats in the 71-seat assembly.“He is not even campaigning effectively and with focus. This man’s reluctance to listen is going to hurt BN,” another source said.

Though BN officials are still confident that they will retain two-thirds control of the state, as many as 20 seats could fall to Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

In the 2006 state elections, the opposition only won seven seats.A glowing performance by the Opposition could breathe new vigour into the coalition which has been stuttering of late and could scupper Najib’s plans to call for general elections this year.

Sarawak has long been seen as a very safe bet for BN because Taib has kept a tight rein on things and shut down any voices of dissent.

But disclosures over his family wealth and the effectiveness of the Internet and Radio Free Sarawak in raising questions about nepotism and cronyism has turned him into poisoned chalice this time around.

BN officials are also finding out that he has become their number 1 nemesis.Taib has openly rebuffed the Prime Minister’s promise to step down quickly by citing the need to groom  a successor despite being at the top for the past 30 years.

But the state’s longest-serving CM said last night he has a successor who has been groomed for the past two decades. He did not name the person.

“Taib is looking for a safe passage out and wants a successor who can assure him that,” an UMNO warlord told The Malaysian Insider.

“He also wants to put someone he can control just like Dr M when he picked Pak Lah,” the UMNO man said, referring to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad choosing Tun Abdullah Badawi to succeed him as prime minister in 2003.

A Sarawak Spring?

April 13, 2011

Comment: Watch this Youtube clip (below), brought to you with the courtesy of my New Yorker friend and  blogger, Mongkut Bean. Think about what the activist in this clip has to say about politics, hypocrisy, and arrogance of power.

Earlier I wrote a short note (Believe It or NOT?) on Taib Mahmud’s passion to  be  an anti-corruption crusader. Now this long serving Sarawak Chief Minister is forecasting that Barisan Nasional can win a 2/3rd majority in the State Assembly come April 16, 2011. Having ruled with absolute power for some 30 years, he certainly knows something about the psyche of the average Joe and Jane and local politicians in his state to be able to speak with such confidence.

Taib could be right because he genuinely believes money can buy anything and everything including votes. His fortune enables him to have economic and political power. That what he thinks of  Sarawakians and how much respect he has for them. I wonder whether Sarawkian voters can prove him wrong and whether we can be sure that some politicians from Pakatan Rakyat and SNAP , if they are elected, will not cross over for cash and political positions (as license to amass personal wealth). Well, we won’t have long to go to know whether Taib is right or whether he is grossly mistaken and out of touch with reality. Who will have the last laugh?Din Merican

April 12, 2011

A Sarawak Spring?

by Bridget Welsh*

When change rocked the Middle East from Tunisia to Yemen, many were quick to point out that it could not happen in Malaysia. The Barisan Nasional (BN) government has a stronger record of governance and, for all of the unevenness of the playing field, holds competitive elections.

Yet, as the Sarawak campaign has unfolded, it is increasingly becoming apparent that change is afoot. The 30-year tenure of Abdul Taib Mahmud – closely paralleling the length of Hosni Mubarak’s own tenure – has inspired an unprecedented response on the ground.

With record attendance at rallies across the state, the floodgates of change have opened, with Prime Minister Najib Razak calling on all of his cabinet to campaign in what has become a defining national litmus test. The 10th Sarawak Election is perhaps the first real test since March 2008 of whether Malaysia will experience a similar spring, or whether it will stave off change.

Growing Loss of Faith in Sarawak Leadership

There are important similarities between Sarawak and the Middle East beyond the length of the tenure of the leadership. Foremost is deepening discontent with the state leadership, as more and more Sarawakians are losing faith in it.

With Taib Mahmud’s decision to contest and not clearly offer a succession plan, attention has remained riveted on his personal and family’s wealth. Attempts to block the Sarawak Report are too late.

While many personally remain loyal to Taib, especially among the Malay/Melanau community and to a lesser extent among some of the Iban communities, the issues of corruption and nepotism have become center stage in a manner that makes the 2006 polls pale in comparison.

These issues are being discussed in longhouses and coffee shops in an open manner, with references to concrete examples that has allowed the issue to permeate across communities. Some voters feel betrayed and lied to as there is a loss of credibility for BN state leaders.

What distinguishes this ‘kopitiam’ talk from previous polls is the scope of discussion and a widening belief that the excesses were exactly that, excesses.

Unfavourable Economic Conditions

The timing of the elections is not working in the BN’s favour, and contributing to the sense of excesses. Inflation remains high in Sarawak (higher than Peninsular Malaysia), and the effects of growth under Najib’s tenure, for example, the New Economic Model (NEM) programme, have not been felt to the same degree.

Development in Sarawak has stagnated in the last few years, as growth has slowed and incomes have not risen. The state’s economic benefits have been seen to be concentrated in hands of Taib’s political elite. Sarawak’s economy – with the exception of tourism and port development associated with natural gas – lacks dynamism.

Even the higher commodity prices for items such as palm oil have not trickled down in the same manner as Peninsular Malaysia, as these are dominated by corporations operating plantations (many in the hands of the political elite and Peninsular Malaysians) rather than smaller farmers.

Retail sectors have been pinched by less spending, due to the persistence of low wages, which remain shockingly low in services and agriculture especially, with workers making less than RM500 a month in arguably a consumer market that is at least 30 percent more expensive than Peninsular Malaysia.

Food security has also emerged as an issue, with the change in agricultural production and inflation, reducing the quality of food, especially in the rural areas.

Hardcore poverty levels may have dropped from 1980, but current relative poverty levels remain high, with the state recording second highest in the country. The gap between the rich and poor in Sarawak is increasing and arguably wider – if one believes even just some of the reports on the state’s political elites wealth – than Peninsular Malaysia.

Economic hardship and disparity are much more prominent this election and these too are being openly discussed.

Loss of Fear

This open discussion has started to transform another key element that has been an integral part of the fabric of Sarawak politics – Fear.

While there is considerable concern that the voting process is not secret (which is understandable in less populated communities), there is also more willingness to come out and gather, and, as it happened on the streets in Cairo, this dynamic is gathering momentum.

Many voters, reticent of showing their loyalties to the opposition, are braving possible repercussions and attending meetings. They are giving financial support in some towns that rivals donations in the  March 2008 elections.

While the BN is pointing to instability – reminiscent of the 2001 polls after September 11 – this is not having the same traction, as voters in Sarawak like those in Egypt are openly defiant.

More Dynamic Internet Campaign

Part of the reason has to do with new sources of information, namely the access to alternative sources of information. Blogs, websites like Malaysiakini, YouTube and more have become an integral part of the campaign. This did not happen before, even in March 2008.

The cyber campaign has been as hot as the rallies, perhaps even hotter. It is important to appreciate that Internet penetration in Sarawak is much more limited than in Peninsular Malaysia, concentrated in the major towns. Information however is filtering to the semi-rural and rural areas, but slowly and without a major impact to date.

Ironically, this was the situation in the Middle East as well, as the information sharing was concentrated in the urban areas. The middle class and professionals were especially important conduits and discussion leaders, and this dynamic seems to be at play in Sarawak as well.

Critical Role of Diaspora

The final similarity at play involves the important role of the Sarawak disapora. There are an estimated 300,000 Sarawakians outside of the state. Most left due to the lack of opportunities for employment and are concentrated in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

They have been following this election from afar, giving support and their return to vote will be a crucial factor in shaping the outcomes in the close contests. How many come home will be decisive in the final outcome.

The same issue will play out within the state, as younger voters in Kuching, Miri and Bintulu will shape campaigns in the rural communities.

Extremely Tight Contests

While these items point to a turning tide toward change, there are important challenges that make this contest the most competitive contest in Sarawak’s history. The opposition gains in 2006 were won on very, very slim margins, and the overall small numbers of voters in constituencies makes for close races.

None of the opposition seats are “secure”, given the tightness of the contests and now more than ever races are open contests. Almost half of the 71 seats are in play, with the number of undecided voters extremely high, especially in the Iban areas and in semi-rural seats. The results in all of the seats will be down to the wire, including every opposition incumbent.

BN’s Money and Machinery

The BN will continue to rely of its traditional advantage of resources. The machinery of the BN – including the use of government departments – is well-oiled and the BN has the access to the rural areas, allowing it a secure buffer of “sure” wins.

The money has flowed already, with houses receiving RM1,000, individuals RM200 and influential individuals as much as RM5,000. Gone are the days when all that was paid was RM20. What will be interesting to see is if money continues to rule the day, which has been the case in previous elections, and how much more is on the way.

The early disbursement has made for an expensive election. The increasing use of financial incentives for support highlights a challenge that the BN faces in strengthening and in some cases reestablishing its legitimacy. The development card in Sarawak does not quite have the same impact.At this rate, it will be hard for the BN to afford a national General Election.

Personal Ties and Party Infighting

The continued use of patronage distinguishes Malaysia’s possible “spring” from the change in the Middle East. In Sarawak, with its smaller population, especially in the rural areas, the ties are personal. There are many in the rural communities who feel a strong sense of loyalty to their Chief Minister Taib, and see their roads and livelihoods tied to his governance.

Unlike the decay of the grassroots connections of UMNO in the rural areas of Peninsular Malaysia, the personal relationships are stronger in Sarawak, and continue to engender loyalty.

Crossing the bridge to the unknown – especially given uncertainties in opposition leadership among some – is not quite the step many are willing to take. This gives the BN its base, even though it has frayed.

One of the reasons the SUPP is facing its challenge for survival is that it lost the personal touch in the urban areas. It is not surprisingly that their campaign logo tries to use this appeal, although with limited impact to date.

Another element of the personal dimension to Sarawak’s campaign is the personal relationships of candidates to communities. Candidates are known, from independents to BN ministers. They rely on extended family support and personal friendships. In small communities, these issues matter.

The more the infighting in a particular contest, with independents having their own bases and gripes for contesting, the more the uncertainty in very tight races. Infighting is particularly affecting PKR, SNAP and PBB, with the record number of third-corner fights and independents contesting. Overall, this helps the BN to a greater degree than the opposition.

Nastier Ethnic Politics

What distinguishes this campaign from earlier ones beyond the greater mobilisation of voters is a harder ethnic edge to the campaign. Traditionally, ethnic dynamics in Sarawak have been played out at the elite level, with leadership infighting rarely extending into society. While Iban nationalism has been important, it has had little impact electorally.

Now the terrain has shifted. First, the race card is being used in the Malay/Melanau areas, arguing that their support is crucial for the position of these communities in Sarawak’s leadership.

With photos of PKR’s Baru Bian circulating and not-so-subtle messages being sent in the campaign, the issue of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ is having an impact.

The quiet argument touted that the Chinese are disloyal for supporting the opposition is also angering some voters, who see Peninsular Malaysia’s ethnic politics being brought into Sarawak inappropriately. This is happening at the same time as Christians – Iban, Chinese, Dayak and some Melanau – remain deeply angry over the handling of the Bible and ‘Allah’ issues.

Religion has been more intertwined with ethnicity and in this Christian-majority state, the questions of freedom of religion are making political ripples, as they did in March 2008 in Peninsular Malaysia.

Further complicating this ethnic dynamic is the issue of land, which has been tied to the perceived marginalisation of Iban and Dayak communities, at the expense of other communities and outsiders.

The lack of headway over customary land issues is having an impact in specific communities and this issue alone has salience in over 15 seats – from Ba’Kelalan to Belaga.

Keeping the Contest as fair as possible

What is interesting to observe in this contest is whether the election continues to be played respectfully and fairly. Sarawakians traditionally avoid confrontation and political polarisation. While money has been accepted as a norm, other concerns with electoral process are emerging.

Voters want, and deserve, a fair contest. They want their votes to count. Unconfirmed reports of movement of voters between constituencies, problems with the electoral rolls, challenges over postal votes, IC cards being allegedly handed over for payment for someone to vote for an individual, cancellation of police permits, pressure on shop owners for allowing political discussion and more are raising concerns about the integrity of the polls.

Whatever happens when the final results come, it is essential that the process be credible. Many Sarawakians hope that the BN’s call for good conduct in the campaign will extend to the voting process as well.

The role of neutrality and professionalism among civil servants in Malaysia in the Sarawak election, is as important as the actions of the governments in the Middle East.

Najib’s Leadership Test

In these final days of the campaign, Prime Minister Najib has made a bold move to vest himself in the outcome of the polls. His presence on the ground is more than any other Prime Minister as this will be a do-or-die mandate for him.

Crucial will be whether he deflects the angst toward the state government and channels votes toward the BN.

The pattern historically has been one of Taib buttressing BN leaders. That role is reversed in this contest. A parallel can be made to Tunisia and Egypt when other leaders came in to stave off the opposition directed toward the top.

Targets and Possibilities

The challenges on both sides are immense as the contest has taken on even greater importance as the campaign has evolved. For the BN, Taib and the SUPP are facing a defining referendum that will affect their future, and they have to hold onto the two-thirds majority and at least three seats, respectively.

For the opposition, any victory that surpasses the 15 seats of 1987 is a major accomplishment. Breaking the two-thirds is not out of the question for the opposition, although it is an extremely tough fight for all concerned, and the advantage remains squarely in the BN court despite the ceramah crowds.

Every vote will count. A spring has yet to come to Sarawak, but, given the changes on the ground, it remains in the realm of the possible.

DR BRIDGET WELSH is associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University. She is in Sarawak to observe the state election. Welsh can be reached at

Isu Taib Mahmud di Sarawak beban bagi Barisan Nasional

11hb April, 2011

Isu Taib – Tiada beban batu digalas

oleh Aspan Alias

Seperti apa yang telah dikatakan oleh blog ini dan banyak blog yang lain serta pandangan dari banyak pihak, Taib Mahmud ini lebih banyak membawa masalah kepada BN dari membawa kebaikan dalam pilihanraya di bumi kenyalang ini.

PM Najib terpaksa berkerja keras untuk meyakinkan rakyat Sarawak yang Taib akan bersara tetapi sampai kehari dan saat ini Najib selaku Pengerusi BN kebangsaan tidak dapat memberikan tarikh yang muktamad bila Taib akan bersara dan meninggalkan politik Sarawak.

Lebih malang lagi Najib tidak lagi memberi tahu rakyat siapa yang akan menggantikan Taib. PR telah siang-siang lagi memberi tahu siapa yang akan menjadi Ketua Menteri jika PR memenangi hati rakyat dan mendapat mandat dari mereka. Setidak tidaknya rakyat sudah tahu siapa yang akan menjadi KM jika barisan pembangkang memenangi pilihanraya ini.

Situasi yang tersepit seperti ini tidak sepatutnya berlaku jika kepimpinan BN dapat merasakan apa yang berdenyut di dalam nadi rakyat kerana terlalu lemah untuk membuat keputusan yang drastik untuk meredakan perasaan marah rakyat terhadap Taib. Kelalaian pimpinan BN menyelesaikan isu ini menyebabkan keadaan begitu genting bagi BN dan jika berlaku penolakan rakyat jangan dipersalahkan rakyat.

Sentimen yang kuat dengan BN memang nyata, tetapi oleh kerana Taib masih berkeliaran dalam BN maka rakyat sudah hilang sabar kerana rakyat telah memberikan signal sebegitu lama kepada BN supaya Taib mesti bersara. Tetapi malangnya BN masih lagi meletakkan Taib sebagai calun dan ini merupakan ‘spoiler’ yang amat ketara kepada BN yang pada pandangan setengah pihak sedang berada seperti telor di hujung tanduk.

Kalau benar seperti yang dikatakan oleh PM Najib yang BN ada pelan peralihan kuasa beliau mesti menghebahkan kepada rakyat siapa yang akan menggantikan Taib dan bila peralihan itu akan berlaku. Kedua-dua isu ini adalah isu yang sangat penting kerana jika rakyat percaya dengan janji Najib itu, tetapi apabila sampai masanya orang yang akan menggantikan Taib itu serupa dengan sikap dan perangai Taib maka rakyat akan mengalami kekecewaan lagi.

Rakyat Sarawak ingin tahu siapa dia yang akan menggantikan Taib kerana ini isu penting. Jika beliau digantikan dengan orang yang tidak diyakini oleh rakyat maka rakyat akan terpaksa menunggu lima tahun lagi untuk menggantikannya. Sampai bila rakyat hendak diperdaya dengan janji yang tidak jelas ini.

Isu masa pun penting. Rakyat nak tahu bila kerana ini adalah isu penting. Rakyat tidak mahu pemimpin berjanji seperti menanti hari kiamat. Kita tidak tahu bila hari kiamat. Tiada siapa yang boleh memberi tahu sesiapa bila hari akan kiamat. Jelas kedua-dua isu ini merupakan isu yang di sebut-sebut oleh mereka dari Sarawak yang saya kenali.

Kalau Najib benar-benar telah ada calun penggantinya, nama pemimpin itu mesti diumumkan sekarang (sebelum hari mengundi) bagi rakyat membuat penilaian.

Jika kita serius untuk memanangi pilihanraya ini dengan senang kedua-dua isu ini wajar diselesaikan sekarang. Sepatutnya Taib tidak di turunkan lagi sebagai calun. Jika Taib tidak diturunkan sebagai calun keadaan yang kita hadapi ini tidak akan seberat sekarang.

Seperti juga rakyat di mana-mana negara, kesabaran mereka ada hadnya. Jika sudah melampaui batas sempadan kesabaran itu maka kita tidak boleh menyalahkan sesiapa lagi terutamanya pihak parti pembangkang. Kita selalu menyalahkan parti pembangkang kerana kesalahan kita sendiri. Kita tidak pernah bersalah tetapi rakyat membenci kita.

Sambutan yang diberikan terhadap perjumpaan dan rally politik di antara BN dan PR malam tadi di Bandaraya Kuching menampakkan dengan jelas betapa jauhnya perbezaan di antara sambutan kedua-dua belah pihak. Rakyat berduyun-duyun memenuhi ceramah besar-besaran PR sedangkan ceramah umum yang dihadziri oleh PM Najib tidak mendapat sambutan. Semuanya adalah kerana penolakkan rakyat terhadap Taib.

Rakyat tidak mahu lagi mereka di jadikan seperti dahan bengkok, untuk kera-kera meniti membaham buah-buah yang lebat itu. Rakyat tidak mahu lagi di perlakukan seperti kerbau di sawah; di paksa membajak tetapi hasil padinya di makan oleh tikus-tikus gemuk yang lapar di kepuk padi. Secara beransur-ansur rakyat sudah tahu yang negara ini mereka yang punya, bukan kepunyaan pemimpin-pemimpin.

Rakyat sudah mual dengan sikap kepimpinan yang menggunakan media untuk memperkecilkan pihak lain sedangkan isu yang besar tentang mereka begitu jelas dilihat oleh rakyat segenap lapisan.

PM Najib nampaknya tidak ada masa yang mencukupi untuk memberitahu rakyat perancangan beliau untuk Sarawak kerana masa beliau ditumpukan untuk mempertahankan Taib yang sudah tidak lagi disukai oleh rakyat negeri itu.Itulah sebabnya banyak negara menjadi kacau bilau kerana pimpinan yang sudah tidak diterima masih lagi bergayut kepada kuasa.

Pengakhir kata, Najib hanya mempunyai beberapa hari sahaja lagi untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini. Najib perlu melakukan tidakkan yang berkesan. Kita berharap Najib akan mengambil keputusan muktamad kerana selalunya Najib amat popular dengan sikapnya yang selalu berubah-ubah dan tidak muktamad.

Keadaan BN begitu kritikal, kalau tidak masakan PM berkubang selama enamhari untuk mendekati terus rakyat yang sudah hilang keyakinan terhadap Taib. Memanglah, betapa berat mata memandang berat lagi bahu yang memikul, berat lagi bahu yang memikul. Dalam hal Sarawak ini kesalahan datang dari kita sendiri. Jangan sekali-kali menyalahkan orang lain. Ingat, negeri Sarawak itu rakyat Sarawak yang punya, bukannya Najib atau Taib Mahmud.

Jangan di nafikan hak rakyat Sarawak untuk memilih siapa yang mereka mahu. Kita tidak boleh terus-terusan memenangi pilihanraya kerana ‘intrigue’ politik, tetapi mesti memenangi jiwa rakyat dengan ‘merit’ yang ada kepada pemimpin-pemimpin kita.

Kita perlu akui Taib tidak lulus dalam ujian NKRA politik yang dilaungkan oleh Najib. Kalau Najib luluskan juga Taib dalam NKRA itu maka elok diketepikan sahaja ‘acronym-acronym’ yang begitu banyak yang dianjurkan oleh PM Najib kita.

Seperkara yang wajar diakui; BN Sarawak sudah hilang hidayahnya. Jika hidayahnya masih ada masakan Taib masih lagi mengetuai BN negeri itu?

Sarawak Elections: Shift into Politics of Development

April 10, 2011

Sarawak Elections: Shift into Politics of Development

by Kuek Ser Kuang Keng@

Despite having the apparent upper hand in the urban cities, Pakatan Rakyat is fighting a tough battle in the rural areas with BN‘s most powerful campaign weapon – ‘development politics’.

This is a term coined by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud which claims that only BN can bring development to the people.

Apart from showcasing the achievements by Pakatan-ruled states in the past three years, the opposition is trying hard to sell a contrasting concept – that BN must be pressured by a powerful opposition to bring development.

NONEThe concept was illustrated by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who made his first trip to the interior today since nomination day.

“We have to force BN to bring development instead of waiting for them to develop,” Lim told some 400 voters in a restaurant at Sri Aman this afternoon.

He cited the example of Kota Sentosa, a seat located in Kuching city and won by DAP’s Chong Chieng Jen but which still saw rapid development.

“If you don’t force them to develop, they will makan (siphon) it themselves, because BN only knows one type of development that is self-development,” he quipped, sending his audience into fits of guffaws.

“If DAP’s candidate Leon Donald wins on April 16, the BN will sure build a new hospital for you.” Leon Donald is the party’s candidate for Simanggang, a semi-rural Iban seat that encompasses Sri Aman town. It is one of the two native-majority seats contested by DAP.

Dilapidated Hospital

Much of DAP’s campaign there hinged on the highly dilapidated Sri Aman hospital, which was constructed during the British colonial era.

The people of Sri Aman has been promised a new hospital since the 1990s. Land was bought but construction did not take off because the land was too swampy, but also many felt mismanagement and bribery was involved.

The hospital has no specialists or a general surgeon and lacks an ICU as well as equipment such as a CT scan. Patients need to endure a three-hour bumpy ride to Kuching for these facilities.

NONE“If patients are sent to Kuching Hospital, they need to take the sampan road (bumpy). Even if their condition is not critical, the journey in the ambulance alone would kill them,” said DAP Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi (left) during the ceramah.

The recent visit of Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai brought the announcement that the construction of the new hospital will start in 2013 under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

But Ooi described it as a “bounced cheque” because the next general election must be held before the middle of 2013 and Liow may not be retained as health minister.

BN’s campaign has been zooming in on the issue of development. Apart from its leaders and candidates repeating that BN is the only party that can bring development to Sarawak, almost all local dailies had published thick special pullouts that echoed this notion.

‘Development politics’ fits well into the mind of rural voters who are mired in poverty and deprived of basic infrastructure including clean water and electricity supply.

‘Big contracts only for Towkays’

Lim also took a swipe at SUPP president Dr George Chan’s recent statement that it is necessary to award big contracts to towkays because they are capable of handling multi-million ringgit projects.

“He had openly said that they only take care of the big towkays. They are not representing small businessmen, small and medium industries but only representing towkays. Can we support this kind of representative?” said Lim, calling SUPP as the towkay party.

bn candidates announcement pbb hq 030411 george chanAccording to a report in English daily The Star, Chan (left) admitted that the government had given priority to certain towkays, but only because it was necessary.

“It is because they have the financial strength and the size to handle massive development projects, like timber harvesting, oil palm plantations, setting up of mills and factories and other housing and infrastructure construction projects.”

Lim’s presence at the quiet town of Sri Aman attracted an animated crowd of some 400.

kuching dap guan eng signing ubahHe was surrounded by dozens of members of the public after the ceramah, asking him to autograph their soft toy ‘Ubah’ they had just bought.

Some grabbed the opportunity to take photographs with Lim. The ceramah managed to raise RM4,424.

However, he did not have the chance to test his charm in an Iban longhouse as police refused to give the permit for DAP to visit longhouses although the permit was not needed before Lim came.

According to DAP, they were denied the permit on the grounds that approval from tuai rumah is needed and the latter had declined.

‘Learn from me’

Besides from DAP, PKR also brought in government leaders from peninsula to convince voters that Pakatan can govern better than BN if given a chance.

NONESelangor Mentri Besar Khalid (right) Ibrahim showcased Pakatan’s achievements after taking over Selangor to some 100 people during a ceramah last night at Kampung Baru Ulu Betong.

They include correcting the previous government’s mistakes in the award of the water concessionaire and recovering millions of outstanding debt from BN crony companies.

“(Deputy Prime Minister) Muhyiddin (Yassin) said Pakatan Rakyat cannot govern… actually, he should learn from me.

“Taib Mahmud can sit beside me to jot down notes, see how I do it (governing the state),” he said. Kampung Baru Ulu Betong falls into the the state seat of Layar, the stronghold of deputy chief minister Alfred Jabu, who is seeking his eighth consecutive term in this state election.