Monday, January 24, 2011

‘Only two-party system can save S’wak’

Joseph Tawie

Crocodiles of the two-legged kind are roaming freely in the natural resource rich state and voting Pakatan will put an end to them, says Lim Guan Eng.

KUCHING: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng declared that only a two-party system which upholds freedom, justice, democracy and integrity can ensure that Sarawak’s rich natural resources benefit Sarawakians.

Speaking to reporters after officiating DAP’s 15th state convention here today, he said a two-party system required a strong opposition which must not only deny Barisan Nasional a two-third majority, but also be able to form government.

“The coming state general election is a crucial crossroad for Sarawakians to choose between BN’s politics of patronage, cronyism and corruption or Pakatan Rakyat, the people’s government,” he said.

Lim pointed out that the state had been over-logged, rivers contaminated and land forcibly taken away from natives leaving them homeless and dislocated.

In town areas, he said, concerned landowners were fretting over high lease premiums. And to cap it all the state with its vast oil and gas resource is only receiving 5% royalty from the federal government.

“The time has come to stop over-logging, increase oil and gas royalties to 20% and return the land to the people and natives. Only a two-party system or a change in government can guarantee that people’s rights are respected.

“We propose an immediate stop to taking away native land and automatic renewal of lease premiums at nominal cost,” said Lim, who is also Penang chief minister.

“In Penang, the state government wants to give freehold titles to low-cost houses free of charge but was stopped by BN. Renewal of lease premiums is now set automatically to 99 years at only 10% of the market value,” he added.

RM1 million Dayak fund

Lim said that to improve the economic welfare and uplift the educational standards of the Dayak community, Pakatan proposes a RM1 billion Dayak Endowment Fund headed by Dayaks elected by the community.

“We will provide a fixed sum every year for all schools including Chinese and mission schools to ensure that they are well-equipped and provided with electricity and water. We will also provide transport subsidies for all school-going children in urban and rural areas.

“We will wipe out hardcore poverty. We will provide free Wi-Fi at all the major population areas in towns and rural settlements,” he added.

Lim said that Sarawak was rich enough to afford all these if the people banded together to stop corrupt practices.

“Sarawak is rich in natural resources but unfortunately it is also full of ‘crocodiles of the two-legged kind.

“But we will stop corrupt practices. We will fight corruption by implementing an open tender system, separate business from politics and ban the chief minister, exco, MPs, state reps, councillors from being granted state land or contracts,” he said.

Lim also proudly declared that Penang was now the “new champion” of investments in Malaysia, for 2010, replacing Sarawak which topped the list in 2009.

“This is the first time in history that Penang is number one in the country.

“By putting in RM12.2 billion, this is an extraordinary vote of confidence by both foreign and local investors in the Pakatan state government,” he said.

“Number two state is another Pakatan state, Selangor with RM10.6 billion. Don’t say Pakatan cannot govern. Within three years, Pakatan has done what BN could not do in 51 years,” he added.

Taken from Free Malaysia Today.

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