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.

1 comment:

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- Murk