Sarawak needs change desperately, says Anwar
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
Malaysian Insider,April 08, 2011
SEKINCHAN, April 8 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has delivered a damning appraisal of Sarawak under the Taib administration, which he claimed has been left to languish in “appaling” conditions and now in dire need of renewal.
The PKR de facto leader minced no words last night when painting a bleak picture of the current socio-economic conditions of the hornbill state ahead of the Sarawak elections, and fully blamed the poor conditions and lack of infrastructure there on Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
“I went to this kampung near Limbang in Sarawak, and what I saw there saddened my heart... the roof of a house burnt for four years and nothing has been done to fix it.
“I am telling them, Umno, Taib... enough of this. The people of Sarawak — the Ibans, Kadazans, Lumbawangs — they are also our people, they are also Malaysians... don’t make them any poorer, please.
“Enough is enough,” said Anwar to an enthusiastic crowd of over 4,000 here, who cheered and clapped along with his speech.
Anwar said it was surprising that Sarawak, with all its natural resources, continued to have constituencies so under-developed and people in such abject poverty.He laid the blame for these conditions squarely on the doorstep of Taib and the ruling Barisan Nasioal (BN), which he accused of allowing the state’s vast resources to be hogged for the “benefit of the ruling elite.”
“In Sarawak, people are in need of material for houses, wood... this is surprising for a state which produces wood logs and fuel, yet its people are stripped of rights to state resources... this is due to a gutless, cruel leadership,” Anwar said.
While Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have been campaigning hard for the state elections, they remain undecided on a potential leadership line-up should they somehow wrest Sarawak from under BN rule on April 16.
The pact’s leaders maintained that the main aim now was to deny BN a two-thirds majority in the state assembly.
The party bosses said they have not yet determined who among its leaders should sit in the state Cabinet and, most significantly, who might replace Taib as Sarawak chief minister.
Taib, the country’s longest serving chief minister, has ruled over the resource-rich Sarawak for a record 30 years and has been described as Malaysia’s most powerful state leader, with a business empire that spans across at least eight nations.
In the state’s 2006 polls, BN won in 63 seats while DAP secured six and PKR and Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) won one seat each.
“We (PR) promise to help all-Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, Melanaus, regardless of race or religion...look at Umno-BN and how they rob the rights of the Bible to be used in Malay,” said Anwar last night.
“There is no pressure in religion, and we also have to respect the rights of other faiths.”
Of the 979,796 voters in Sarawak, the Chinese make up 31.5 per cent, Ibans 29 per cent, the Malay/Melanau 27.5 per cent, Bidayuh eight per cent, Orang Ulus 3.7 per cent and others 0.26 per cent.
PR is banking heavily on support from the Chinese community as well as the state’s Christians, who make up more than half of the electorate.
Excited chatters and murmurs filled the night air when Anwar addressed the issue of the alleged sex video of himself, which first made headlines when it was released two weeks ago.
The Permatang Pauh MP has consistently denied that the man in the video was him.
Yesterday, Anwar said the attempts by Umno to attack his credibility by linking him with the sex video showed that they were afraid of PR’s chances in Sarawak and wanted to throw a wrench in the works of the federal opposition now focussed on the hornbill state.
“They no longer have anything to argue with, that’s why they are using this sex video.
“Imagine a rapist is preaching about good values,” said Anwar snidely.
As Anwar says, “The people of Sarawak — the Ibans, Kadazans, Lumbawangs — they are also our people, they are
also Malaysians... don’t make them any poorer, please" - DSAI.
Together with the Ibans,kadazans and other East Malaysian communities we,Malays,Chinese and Indians are all Malaysians and must be treated as such.
For over 50 years our plight been ignored and rights systematically eroded.
Malaysia needs change desperately,not just Sarawak.We have the best opportunity to put things right with our vote.
Let us not gamble our future and that of our children for some short term gains.
Sarawakians should lead the way in this quest for change.
Let we alone decide our destiny.
God bless Malaysia