Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vote for the Future Generations of Sarawak

Sarawakians are going to the polls on 16th April, 2011. It is the Tenth State-Election. I urge the eligible voters to come out and vote without fear. Make use of your citizen’s right to determine the state’s next leadership. The voters have the responsibility to give their future generations a promising hope.

I always have a passion for Sarawakians as I have been doing my pastoral ministry in Sarawak, based in Kuching, in the early 1990s for four and a half years. Those days our two boys were at tender ages below teen. As West Malaysians, we went into Sarawak with our passports as if we were entering into another country. I applied for a work pass. Regrettably a high ranking immigration officer who was a Christian turned me down. And subsequently my whole family had resorted to flying in and out every three months. Time and money were wasted in such ridiculous hassle!

We then realized that Sarawakians were people who felt insecure with outsiders, including West Malaysians. They thought that West Malaysians were trying to rob away their rice bowls. Even for the people who were given business passes. They needed to fly out every six months. Such an investor-unfriendly policy will eventually cripple their economies.

There is much connection between investment and economy. If Sarawakians look from the anchor of “money being siphoning out” as their priority concern, then efforts will be made to ensure that outsiders cannot stay there for long. If they were to look from the anchor of “opportunity for economy growth”, then will they welcome those outsiders! Wherever there are business activities, there are growth and prosperity.

About four years ago my wife went back to Kuching after years of absence. She was appalled to see that there was not much development ever since we left. In fact, it seemed that the city was getting more stagnant. I was not surprised to hear about that. The strict immigration laws have either caused businesses to pull out or no new ones wanted to come in. Today we see lots of Sarawakians and Sabahans working in West Malaysia. Such scenario just speaks louder than words.

Who have made the Sarawakians so kiasu (scared of losing) then? The corrupt ruling representatives, of course! Sarawak has the riches natural resources in Malaysia, including timber and petroleum. Yet it is the second poorest state in the country, after Terengganu! By the way, Terengganu also has rich oil fields. So either the leadership of Sarawak was incompetent or they simply abused the state resources. Evidently it was found to be of the latter.

It is sad that citizen there at large have been instilled with such thoughts as rejecting the “rice bowl robbers” until they were convinced it was a truth. And subsequently they accepted the “fact” that they are poorer and less competent than the West Malaysians. By riding on the heresy, now the desperate Barisan Nasional leaders told the voters to reject Political Parties from West Malaysia.

By giving such an advice, they were actually slapping on the Prime Minister Najib Razak over his “1Malaysia” slogan! East and West Malaysians have been divided for too long. Instead of uniting the people, these bankrupt leaders were doing otherwise by dividing us.

So it is time for a new leadership to provide governance. Even as Pakatan Rakyat is pushing for a “Malaysians’ Malaysia”, Sarawakians must consider this time round to make a change in government. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin claimed that BN’s policy of “Transformation” is better than PR’s “Ubah” (Change). If BN has never provided enough the basic infrastructures in the past 48 years, what “transformation” then can you expect from them? It is disgraceful to hear from PR campaigners about their traveling experience on rough road journeys which as if they were riding on boats! Both Najib and Muhyiddin should travel by roads instead of by air. They should experience the shameful states of Taib’s “development”.

Sarawakians should become the catalyst for a Federal Change. Do not miss the opportunity of a lifetime. When the old generations have been deprived of much benefit, enough is enough, think for the future generations. The vast resources of Sarawak are given by God to every Anak Sarawak. Claim back what are rightfully yours.

The only means of bridging up the gap between the East and West is to enlarge the cake of economy in Sarawak. If Penang which has not much natural resources and yet PR ruled Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng could make it the best state in investment index, how much more will Sarawak be, which has the richest natural resources?

We pray for a bright future in Malaysia. All Malaysians shall be prosperous. By then there is no more differentiating each other as an East Malaysian or a West Malaysian. We are all Malaysians, and truly Anak Bangsa Malaysia.

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