On Wednesday 1st December, 2010, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, on the front page of the Borneo Post, said:
“I don’t ever take development for granted.” He urged the people to be wary of those who tried to brainwash and incite them to hate the government. This, he warned, would cause people to forget about the bread and butter issues like planning further development of the state and country. He said when people forgot about the bread and butter issues they would dwell on personal matters or think about things that were not related to their well-being. Speaking at length on development, Taib said Sarawak had achieved great progress and become prosperous”.
Let us be reminded that the funding of projects and development in the country or state comes from the coffers of the country and state, as well as taxes paid by the people. The funding does not come from the pockets of the CM and BN leaders.
Let us be clear that it is the duty and responsibility of the government of the day (BN) to utilise and manage the coffers of the state for the benefit of the people. Development is not a choice. It is an imperative and a right to be enjoyed by the rakyat. Even the worse totalitarian regimes in the world have to develop their countries, what more to say Malaysia and in particular Sarawak which purportedly practises parliamentary democracy.
However, what is the track record and success rate of the BN government in executing this responsibility of developing the state? It has failed miserably in the last 30 years in discharging this duty.
Let me pose three straightforward questions to the Chief Minister of Sarawak:
1. Why is it that Sarawak, being the richest state in Malaysia in terms of natural resources, ends up the fourth poorest state in Malaysia? Yet we have read internet allegations and reports that the CM and his family own overseas properties worth billions of ringgit.
2. Why is there a huge disparity in terms of wealth between the rich and the poor in Sarawak?
3. And ironically, why are the poorest Malaysians to be found in the richest state in Malaysia i.e. Sarawak, especially the Dayaks?
The fact that we can ask these salient questions goes to show that the BN government and her leaders have nothing to be proud of in terms of development in the their 47 years of government in Sarawak.
In light of what the CM has said about bread and butter issues, I agree with him that we should not cloud the matter with rhetoric and instead urge Sarawakians to ask themselves some pertinent questions:
1. Who own the timber concessions and licenses in Sarawak?
2. Who own the quarry licenses in Sarawak?
3. Who own the oil-palm plantations in Sarawak?
4. Who have benefitted from the many huge government contracts that have been awarded arbitrarily without open tender?
Therefore, it appears that the development the Chief Minister speaks of is for the selected few, not the ordinary citizens. Is this the bread and butter he is talking about?
On the other hand, PKR and Pakatan Rakyat will offer good governance, better management of the state’s wealth, transparency, fair and equitable distribution of wealth, and implement an open tender system for all government projects and contracts. We want the bread and butter to reach the tables of the people, and not end up on the gravy train.
For more information, please contact PKR State Publicity Chief Mr. See Chee How (0198886509) or Baru Bian’s Office (Vernon Kedit at 0129880996).