Friday, January 23, 2009

Economic Dependence of Rural Folks Makes BN Rules

BN government will still continue to rule this Sarawak state if rural folks continue to stick to economic dependence on government projects and subsidies. This is because the battle for political power lies in the hands of the people in the rural area and whoever controls rural seats would likely to form the next government. These are the people that will decide the fate of Sarawakians and the State. With a few thousand votes in a constituency they could come with a representative in the Legislative Assembly, while, in urban areas, the voters at times could be four to five times larger to elect one.

At the moment, we could see BN leaders came all out to give away Minor Rural Project “MRP” Funds just for bridges, small roads and fertilizers. The stronger the Opposition in a certain area the more aggressive the work of BN people in handing out the MRP funds. This trick worked for forty-five years and as long as the rural folks still wish to fall into this trap they will just have to suffer for at least another generation. The BN government could simply control these people to vote for the BN in the coming election because these people in the rural are poor and had been so used to economic dependence from the BN government. The people in the rural area being too poor and being inaccessible to the media could easily be exploited by the BN government.

The rural folks were therefore at the mercy of the BN government. While the rural folks got some temporary relief in the form of RMP Funds, they did not realize that their native lands were also gone and been alienated to BN politicians and their cronies. The longer the BN rules this state, the more the native lands will find its way in the hands of the BN politicians and their cronies.

I heard, Gerald Rentap, who was said the son of Jabu got big chunks of land alienated to him by the state government. Likewise, a native by the name of Robert Lawson Chuat, also got some pieces of land for plantation, but, I am not sure whether this Gerald Rentap and Jabu they mentioned to me were Gerald Rentap son of Tan Sri Jabu and that Jabu was Tan Sri Jabu anak Numpang, our Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak. Likewise, I am not sure whether Robert Lawson Chuat they mentioned to me is the currently assemblyman who came from Betong. If this is the one, then, they said he is a nephew of Tan Sri Jabu anak Numpang.

Another way for the BN government to control these rural people was to slow down development programmes. These development programmes would normally be sped up when elections were drawing near.

That is why many rural areas had no roads and accessibility to electricity. If rural folks want development be sped up, the only way is to give their undivided support to the Opposition. If the Opposition is strong in their areas the rural folks would definitely get help from the government faster. However, development and poverty in the rural area would be quicker to be solved if the Opposition becomes the next government. With power, the Opposition can accelerate development of the rural area.

In the past, I had persistently raised the issue of no electricity and water supply to Lachau Town. The town built in 1975, which is about 90KM from Kuching was a very popular tourist stopover and it really embarrassed the locals when comments were heard from foreigners that despite of electricity cables passing just near to the roofs of the shophouses and longhouses, the area did not have electricity. So about two weeks ago, I was please when I passed by the town to find out that electricity cables were being laid in the town, but, still the town and the longhouses nearly will have no electricity because the relevant authorities were said demanding high deposits. Still the BN government will hold these people at political ransom.

Therefore, unless we change the government, the rural folks will continue to suffer. This is because in exchange for the short relief they got in the form of RMP Funds, they will at the same time find their Native Customary Lands (NCL) gone and be alienated to BN politicians and their cronies. The rural people of which, the majority are the dayaks and the malays and some Chinese will remain poor if the BN government will continue to rule and continue not to change their policies. If the rural folks want their land preserved, they have no choice, but, to be united and support the Opposition and change the government so that land titles to NCL and kampong lands could be issued.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Each time when there was flood SUPP leaders were always too efficient and busy seeking donations and handing out foods and other reliefs to the flood victims. Each time, when there was flood, those flood victims in Kgp Kudei were normally always been in the front pages of the newspapers. SUPP leaders had politically exploited their problem and the recent clever exploitation of the flood victims at Kpg. Kudei was in fact, a re-cycling of the plights faced by these people. This should not have happened had problem about their plight had been solved as promised some twenty years ago. They were poor people and had told the authorities that they need to be re-settled and there were promises by the State Government to resettle them, but, until now these poor people could not get help from the government. The government knew that they have to be resettled because Kpg. Kudei was not a suitable place for human occupation because the lives of those who made their homes there could one day face great danger from fire, disease and flood.

However, BN and SUPP leaders had so far failed to appreciate the damage caused by the floods in the past years, especially, in 2003 and 2004 were meaningless to their publicity of love and compassion. BN and SUPP leaders should realize that floods were serious problems and they should not keep on telling the people that floods in Kuching and surrounding areas were act of God. We could not blame God totally because many of the causes of floods in Kuching and other adjacent areas were also man created through policies of the government of the day. God gave Sarawak River two tributaries, but, why blocked them with a causeway and a barrage? Why did not foresee that housing estates should need better drainage systems? Why fell the trees and cleared the forests, when trees could help mitigate floods by soaking the water during heavy rain? Why fell trees and clearing of forests be allowed for purpose of profit of the few, yet, without proper replanting and forest management? Were not these contributed to erosions and siltation of the river beds of the Sarawak River? Had not this siltation then caused the riverbeds to be shallow? Had not the shallow waterbeds cause rain water to rise up very quickly to flood riverbanks and into the farms, shops and houses?

Now, who should be responsible for all these floods? Was it not the government of the day that was also responsible for the flood in Kuching City? Were not big floods like the ones in 2003, 2004 and this year unheard of in Kuching?

And after having contributed to the flood, many BN leaders including those in the SUPP then came all out to show love and compassion to those affected by the floods by evacuating those affected and putting them in places like Chinese Schools. Why should they put these flood victims in Chinese schools? Were they not aware that Chinese schools receive very little fund from the government? Were they aware that many of these Chinese schools were near bankrupt and that they have to be thrifty in their expenditure? Now, these Chinese schools have to find extra funds to pay the costs of electricity and water used by these flood victims and it is not sure whether these schools used as refuge for the flood victims will be compensated by the government or not for their loss. Of course, those that had been evacuated each time there was flood, included those people of Kpg. Kudei in the Batu Lintang Constituency.

BN leaders including those in the SUPP had made these flood victims in Kpg. Kudei good re-cycled news for their political mileage, but, forgot that this was at the expense of the sufferings of the people caused by the government they run. The public should have no thanks to them for such gestures of love and compassion because the sufferings caused to the people were substantially created by the BN government, in which, we could not put this as caused by act of God.

The leaders of the BN and SUPP should understand that flood problem should be tackled once and for all. We should not let it happen again and again because not only the people in Kpg. Kudei that suffered, but, the farmers, shopkeepers, daily paid workers and businessmen also suffered. This time the loss for businessmen in Kuching, especially, at the Main Bazaar, India Street, Padungan, Petanak, Batu Lintang and Sekama, could be something not less than a million ringgit and the poor farmers had their fishes in the ponds escaped into the seas and their vegetable gardens destroyed. Their losses were also been very substantial.

Sg. Maong area of the Batu Lintang Constituency was a low lying area and Kg. Kudei is within the Constituency. In 1991 State Election it was splashed in local newspapers that the state government came out with plans to tackle the flood problems in Kuching and in Batu Lintang. Dr. George Chan had personally appeared in The Borneo Post dated 26. 9. 1991 to say that a grant of RM60 million came from both the state and federal coffers to improve the drainage system in Batu Lintang and this did not include additional funds announced by the Chief Minister, Tan Sri Taib Mahmud, for the drainage plan study. However, a sincere Minister, Datuk Wong Soon Koh told the Dewan when questioned by me that there was no such fund.

There was also a feasibility study to improve the drainage systems and flood control for Kuching City, in which, came with the idea of the Sarawak Barrage and also a causeway to be build across the two tributaries of the Sarawak River. The Sarawak Barrage was then built on one of the tributaries and the causeway was built on the other tributary. The Sarawak Barrage with its’ gates was to regulate the water flow in and out of the Sarawak River while the causeway was as a driveway for cars to cross from the Kuching side of the City to Petrajaya. In the feasibility study by an engineering firm from the United Kingdom in collaboration with a local engineering firm, it was said that if a barrage and a causeway were to be constructed, a canal somewhere at Kpg. Paroh should be constructed so that a replacement water outlet could be found to let the flood water to flow to the South China Sea. This engineering report from the engineering firm, Rendel, Palmer & Tritton was first shown by me to the public during the 2004 General Election. Fed-up with the floods, I have to get my friends to discreetly passed me this report and I thanked them for their help.

The estimated cost at that time was only RM70 million, but, now it is said that the whole project would cost RM1 billion! To this, many said we had a stupid government.

Not only matter ended there. In the 2004 General Election a State Cabinet Minister and leader of SUPP said that the state government had employed the services of experts from China to study the flood problems in the City of Kuching. In the Dewan Undangan Negeri recently when cornered by Honourable Members from the Opposition, the State Government said they would this time seriously look into the matter. A senior BN politician before he left the Federal Cabinet and who at one time was speculated to take over from Tan Sri Pehin Taib Mahmud as Chief Minister, also said that funds were coming from the Federal Government. Now, where is the fund? What had happened? Again, we now hear (The Borneo Post dated 17. 1. 200) from Dr. George Chan, assistance from the federal government is sought, but, this was an old song sung many time, but, still this song never caught much attention from the BN government. The song had not become sweet to the ears anymore, and something must quickly be done by the BN government.

It was also recently disclosed that the canal at Kpg. Paroh definitely would be built, but, until now we did not receive the progress of the project. Even if the project gets off the ground and be completed, there is no guarantee that this canal could solve the flood problems in Bau and Kuching areas. This is because the canal if built must have the size and depth to replace the two tributaries of the Sarawak River built for causeway and the barrage. Even if the canal could be completed, but, if it will be a small and shallow canal, then public money spent would be a waste.

So BN leaders had big plans, but, talked only. They all had in their mind projects of millions of ringgits to solve the flood problems in Kuching, but, none of their plans until now had materialized to relieve the sufferings of the Kuching people. Instead they were too energetic to be political beggars to beg for donations from many companies and businessmen. These companies and businessmen could be flood victims themselves and could have suffered much loss due to the flood, but, had to give face to these political leaders in donating to other flood victims. Instead of getting help to mitigate their loss, they had to incur further loss by helping others when they had to oblige and give face to these BN leaders.

Why Need the Barrage?

The barrage was said necessary for three purposes. First, to prevent salty sea water from going upstream the Sarawak River so that saline water would not be pumped into our water treatment plant. This water treatment plant by the Kuching Water Board supplies treated water to the people of Kuching and the surrounding areas. Second, the barrage with its’ gates were to control the flow of water pouring out of the barrage and into the sea so that water in the upper stream of the Sarawak River could be maintained consistently at a certain level. With the water level at a certain level at the upper stream, the Kuching Water Front could look scenic. Third, the barrage with its’ gates was said to prevent king tide water from going up the Sarawak River that could flood Kuching City. This explanation should not be acceptable because by blocking water from high tides going upstream to Kuching, this could then cause the mouth of the Sarawak River to swell up and flood the costal areas and cause people at costal areas to suffer from flood.

As said earlier, the barrage was said necessary to control saline water from the South China Sea going upstream to be pumped into the water treatment plants maintained by the Kuching Water Board so that water treated by these water treatment plants would be treated water of good quality to meet World Health Organization standard. Therefore, it was argued that the barrage was a necessity and must be built so that treated water would not be saline. The fear of poor treated water quality for consumption had raised fears among the authorities, in which, during flood of the last few days they came with a press statement to tell the people of Kuching that despite the flood water, the treated water for Kuching was safe for consumption.

However we must understand that the barrage should not have been considered in the first place to solve the problem of the safety of our water for public consumption. Instead of the barrage, what the relevant authorities should, in the first place, have considered was the upgrading of the water purification systems. There were technologies in the water purification systems that could even treat the dirtiest water and could also remove poisons and harmful chemicals and why this had not been considered?

With the barrage built to help to control the saline raw water to be pumped for treatment, had we got safe treated water for consumption? Can our treated water be safe for consumption when water treatment chemicals and bacteria were found beyond the permitted level? This matter was raised by me in the Dewan Undangan Negri recently. If our treated water was truly safe for human consumption, then, why there were too many people suffering from kidney diseases and kidney failures in Kuching? Was not water that we drank everyday from our pipes was one of the causes towards these kidney failures and problems? Health problem caused by poor quality of drinking water could in turn had caused the costs of our national health care to rise up sharply and had unnecessary ate into our national economy. This clearly shows that the government had lacked the foresight in handling this matter or could this government has compromised the health of the people which made the government to chose for political and social convenience the barrage mooted by one man?

It was said that the idea of the barrage came from a senior BN politician who has a house facing the Sarawak River. The said politician wanted the water level of the river to be regulated and not to fall below a certain level. If the barrage be built, the said politician was said wanted the water controlled by the barrage in front of his house be blue in colour like water found in many holiday islands in the world so that his wife and him could enjoy the scenic blue water in front of his house during sunsets. What a good idea and a friend told him that it was not a problem to fulfill his wish to turn the muddy water of the Sarawak River infront of his house to blue, but, all fish and fauna lives in the river would be destroyed by chemicals to be used to treat the muddy water. This led the plan for the blue water infront of the politician’s house been abandoned as it was also too costly to maintain. The barrage was also said to create good fengshui luck to the politician.

Common sense also told us that if we control the natural flow of water from going into the sea through the barrage, sedimentation would also occur and this in turn over years will make the river bed shallow. The water from the upper stream just could not flow out to the sea in normal speed and therefore could not also bring with it the sediments into the sea. When the riverbed becomes shallow, this can easily cause heavy rain water to overflow to the banks of the river and into our houses and farms.

To solve the flood problem for the people in Kuching, at least the causeway has to be dismantled and a bridge or a barrage be built over it. As it is now, instead of two outlets there is only one water outlet that allows water to pass through and into the South China Sea. This outlet is the Sarawak barrage. For the water problem, this could easily be solved by upgrading the water purification system and to ensure proper maintenance and supervision of the system so that no chemicals exceeding the permitted levels will be allowed to be found in the treated water.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

偶尔下毛毛雨 多处照淹不误

Figure 1: Along Jalan Stapok

Figure 2: SK Combined

Figure 3: Along Jalan Cross

Figure 4: SMK Sungai Maong

Figure 5: Pisang Road West

Figure 6: Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce

Figure 7: Part of Jalan Stapok

Figure 8: Batu Kawa / MJC

诗华日报 (14.1.2009)



他说,在没有采取足够步骤确保内陆大量雨水引入南中国海之前,砂拉越河其实不 应该被河堤与水閘,以免阻截大量雨水流入海内。




Friday, January 2, 2009

Moral Decay– A Disease of 21st Century, what caused?

When we gained independence, most of us were all very poor, but, there was much peace and happiness in our lives. We played with our neighbours and the people around us were very friendly. We never thought a person who played marbles with us was a malay, a dayak a Chinese or an Indian. At night time, we could afford to sleep comfortably without fear of intruders. We never had any air-conditioners in our homes and when we slept, we opened our windows at night to get the fresh air. When doing business, money passed hands without receipt, promises and agreements by way of mouths counted and there was no need of things been put into writing. In those days, we all trusted each other and we all held high morals and integrity in lives. There was nothing our neighbour wanted to steal and rob from us because we were all the same as disparity of wealth was not felt. There was nothing to steal from each other. There was a lot of friendliness among neighbours.

The foremost importance at that time was that, everyone was treated equally in the eyes of the law and there were equal opportunities for all in education, economy and possession of property and people could do business with confidence. The government was fair to all people, irrespective of their creed, colour or race. Racial tension was something unheard of and no one gave a thought this could happen.

In present day, we claim ourselves as Malaysians, but, we do not really identify ourselves as such. Instead of a bangsa Malaysia, we classified and we identified ourselves as bumiputeras and non-bumiputeras and among the bumiputeras some were identified as UMNOputeras. The bumiputeras in Sabah and Sarawak, being not themselves classified as UMNOputras then have to regard themselves as third class bumiputeras. This divide was caused by the present government through the implementation the New Economic Policy because without classification of the Malaysian race into bumiputera and non-bumiputera and be further identified by the implementers as bumiputera and UMNOputra, the New Economic Policy could not be implemented. Therefore, the implementation of the New Economic Policy after the infamous May 13, 1969 incident was the beginning of moral decay in this country.

The nomenclature was the creation by BN politicians who know best the implication of such classification of races. The policies of the government were supposed to give equal advantage to the malays, dayaks, kadazans and other natives of Sabah and Sarawak, whom the BN government had classified as “bumiputeras” but, this was not. Opportunities and wealth in the country were not equally shared by all bumiputeras. Only those bumiputeras who were near to UMNO and only those who were near the ruling party got the added advantage over those outside them.

Politicians and those in the corridors of power mislead the people, abused their power and to acquire their wealth. To acquire their wealth, the more greedy ones also used all means possible to get them. They enjoyed much advantage in the art of survival. Our nation being abundant with resources and of which many were still untapped, were “goldmines” to these greedy people, and by their greed, they took and swallowed like dinosaurs, whatever things that came to their path. Their greed had domino effect because they normally cried for more and when they cried for more, they then took away most of the wealth of the country, leaving the crumbs under the table to the unfortunate to fight.

This was how business morality began to slide and people began to trust each other less. The effect was that, it also created a gap where the rich became richer and the poor became poorer. There was no more equality under the eyes of the law and this then affected the country’s social order.

Unlike what we enjoyed after independence, at present, equal opportunities in the fields of business, education, ownerships of property and advancement of personal skills are now no more there. People no more respect each other because their rights had been threatened by the more powerful creatures around them! The government then became less caring where tough laws were passed to control and to curtail unwarranted norms or behaviours so that social and economic order could be maintained so that less harm be caused to the people. The Internal Security Act 1960 was and will be the only known law that the government could effectively use to prevent social, security and economic disorder. The use of the Internal Security Act 1960 will only serve to tarnish further the image of Malaysia in the international community. This was clear in the arrest of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and YB Teresa Kok and reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng.

Racial Harmony affected by NEP

At the same time in pursing the never ending policy of the New Economic Policy, racial tensions had been created from time to time by interested groups. It had been purposely created with the focus to ensure that only one particular race or group of people will continue to benefit from the wealth of the country at the expense of other Malaysians. There will be further erosion of equality of rights and opportunities. All protection of our rights and equality as enshrined in the Federal Constitution will be further diluted or be taken away. The Federal Constitution will just become a paper tiger and will be ineffective to provide economic, security and political stability, certainty and stability.

For those who were not so fortunate than those in power and being also having not so much opportunity in their paths to help them overcome the spiraling costs of living, they have no choice, but to rob, cheat and sell drugs to survive. Why? Morals, trusts and integrity were no more be important to them because they had to survive. They had become too greedy! There had been much moral decay and this was a disease of the 21st century created by BN government. We must examine this moral decay carefully and we must seek a cure for it.

When moral decay creeps in, our society will collapse. There will be more plunder, murder, cheats and robbers everywhere. More ministers and houses of businessmen be robbed and people will not be safe. The policies of the BN government had instead made robbers smarter and more intelligent in the choice of their targets. It all sprang from the New Economic Policy and its’ side effects are now felt!

How to cure?

It is very simple, but, the cure would be time consuming because of the rot inside. Politicians and administrators need to take the lead because they were the cause of these diseases. Peace and progress in society were created by politicians and administrators and if all take the lead, the domino effect of a better society could be felt.

When YBs were elected they took Oaths before the Speakers of the Legislative Assemblies or in Parliament to protect the Constitutions. The Constitutions are to ensure equality and equal protection before the law, equal opportunity for all races in the fields of business, education, possession of property and the protection of rights of citizens, but, many had failed to uphold the Oaths for fear of losing popularity and be kicked out in the next election.

This then created a situation of selfishness among YBs and Ministers and the attitude among these politicians were also that as long as they survive, they forgot or neglected to represent the peoples’ voices in and outside the Legislative Assemblies and Parliament. Due to selfishness, many of these politicians may try to kill each other off politically, be it within or outside own circle. This was only to ensure their political survival. Their selfishness had not been healthy because the best brains may just have to retire from politics. Those good brains after being been marginalized would just have their political career shortened. The end result is that the country will stand losing these honest and creative politicians.

Most if not all, YBs in Barisan Nasional feared to speak on issues affecting the people. Many cabinet ministers also dared not to speak during cabinet meetings for fear that the leadership will not pick them in coming elections! This was because being in the Barisan Nasional, the stakes were always high. This is because once elected these YBs could also gain extra allowances if given ministerial posts. They could also gain extra allowances by making them sit in the Board of Directors of government linked companies or in statutory bodies. Among other perks are also that plantation lands and timber licences were also for them to grab and to share.

Since politicians and administrators in the Barisan Nasional had played an important role in causing social and economic divide, they must mend it; otherwise, it will be too late and things can explode at any time.

Power had been in their hands if they continue to take away people’s land, people’s rights and discriminate them, we would in these next few years see the bad effect of their abuses more drastically soon. People will go to the streets and we will see that law and order would be of no effect in this country. Our country will be like some of our neighouring countries where elected governments collapsed caused by demonstrations and protests in the streets.