Thursday, May 16, 2013

Marginal win in GE13 shows Baram charting its own political direction

Posted on May 15, 2013, Wednesday

MIRI: The close contest in the just concluded 13th general election (GE13) indicates that the Baram region is able to hold its own politically.

Baram Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy chairman Roland Engan expressed this opinion when sharing his experiences with supporters during a dinner gathering at Grand Palace Hotel recently.

“The Baram polls show the need to overcome challenges posed by issues like communication and logistics in the large district about the size of Johor,” said Roland who contested in Baram on the PKR ticket in GE13, narrowly losing to Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Anyie Ngau.

Roland reckoned that Baram will remain a hotly contested region due to several issues close to the hearts of its people who felt ignored by previous administrations, hence the need for their own ‘voice of Baram.’

Among the issues mentioned were the controversial Baram Dam project pushed by the state government, native lands, lack of ICs and poor development of roads and amenities.

“We must include everybody by reaching out, as in registering more indigenous voters like Penans, and engaging other communities including non-Dayaks like the Malays,” said Roland who thanked those suggesting he run for the state polls.

As a Kenyah from Long Jeeh, Roland preferred others to contest the state seats of Marudi and Telang Usan in the 2016 state polls, based on an unwritten rule that an Iban candidate is to contest in Marudi, a Kayan in Telang Usan and a Kenyah in Baram.

Although disappointed in the loss of Baram after a hard fought battle against BN, he is glad to be a part of GE13 that awakened the rural electorate to the need to take charge of their own fate by being heard.

He stressed the need for sufficient funding, better strategy and efficient communication and proposed a postmortem be conducted after every poll.

“In politics, supporters must show commitment and teamwork, and there’s much to learn and improve on before one has the chance to take Baram,” he added.

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