Monday, August 19, 2013

Sarawakians not ‘naïve, stupid or cowards’

Winston Way

August 19, 2013
Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian slams armchair critics who ridicule and malign Sarawakians over the recent general elections, adding that “change takes time”.
KUCHING: A senior Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat leader has rebuked armchair critics within the cyber realm who continuously malign Sarawakians over the 2011 state and recent parliamentary elections.
Since the parliamentary polls, there have been countless attacks on Sarawakians and Sabahans through social media and online news portals.
Critics blamed voters in the two states for “reaping what they sow”, in relation to them voting in Barisan Nasional despite the coalition’s failed promises and pledges.
They also sarcastically ‘asked’ the Sarawak people to ‘thank’ the BN government for any ‘trouble’ or hardships the local population faced.
Sarawakians and Sabahans were in general described as ‘naïve’, stupid’, ‘easily bought’ and ‘cowards’ for voting for BN, though the two states had in fact recorded increased support for Pakatan in the recent general and state elections.
During GE13, 36.82 percent, or 304,508 out of 827,203 voted for Pakatan Rakyat candidates in Sarawak, from which the opposition coalition won six out of 31 parliamentary seats on offer in the state.
Excluding the six seats of Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sarikei, Sibu, Lanang and Miri, Pakatan garnered 16.7 percent of the votes in the areas where BN candidates won.
At state level, Pakatan also had recorded increased support, gaining 21.13 percent of the support during the 2011 Sarawak state elections, swelling their representation in the state legislative council by eight seats along the way.
This is in contrast to a combined percentage of 11.1 percent in 2006, when DAP was actually not a part of the then-Barisan Bersatu Rakyat of PKR, SNAP and PAS.
Speaking to FMT recently state PKR chief Baru Bian said: “Negative comments made by various quarters are unfair. They are not looking at the actual facts.”
‘Change takes time’
Asked if these prejudiced views towards Sarawakians and Sabahans affected Pakatan’s support in the state, Bian said: “The perception is incorrect.”
“But we cannot stop outsiders from having certain perception of us in Sarawak. These are just armchair critics who don’t know the facts.
“The result of Sarawak GE2011 and GE13 showed a marked increase in support for Pakatan but not enough to tip the balance for a win, especially in rural seats.
“Unfortunately the rural seats are dominated by the old folks who don’t really know the difference between the Pakatan and BN political agenda’.
“But we can change that. We can change our rural people and their political perception of things by going down to the ground and engaging them.
“We must take all effort to bring political education to rural areas. Change takes times.”
In both the state and parliamentary polls, Pakatan swept the urban seats.
Sarawak is due for a state election by 2016. The conservative view is that the opposition could up its victories in the next polls by up to five seats in the mixed and rural areas.
However it must be noted that the BN led by Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is no longer naive about the opposition’s push.
In fact a recent announcement by Taib that a special programme was being developed to economically empower the Dayak community could dampen the opposition’s bid.
Meanwhile when asked about DAP’s push into the rural areas, and whether it would backfire on PKR, Baru reiterated that he had no objection to that, “as long as it strengthens Pakatan, not weakening it”.
“The future of Pakatan in Sarawak will depend on how well the Pakatan states prove to the world that they are better than BN’s governments,” Baru added.
~ Free Malaysia Today

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