Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BARU BIAN: TAIB’S CONTROL OF SARAWAK - FOR WHOSE BENEFIT?


29 APRIL 2014
PRESS STATEMENT

I was perturbed to read yesterday about Jeffrey Kitingan singing the praises of the former CM for keeping UMNO out of Sarawak while lamenting the fate of Sabah, which is now under UMNO’s domination. It is misleading and unhelpful to simply applaud Taib Mahmud without looking at the overall picture of Sarawak under his domination. Did Taib Mahmud and his party not gain from the barring of UMNO? Why did Jeffrey Kitingan not address the injustice and oppression being faced by the natives with regard to their land rights? Why did he not touch on the widespread allegation of corruption among the BN politicians and their unexplained wealth?

Jeffrey bemoaned the ranking of Sabah as the poorest state in Sarawak, but he failed to acknowledge that Sarawak is running very closely behind Sabah. He pointed out the fact that Sabah is actually a very rich state. Well, so is Sarawak but Sarawakians are not rich, just as Sabahans are not. Like Sabah, Sarawak is receiving only 5% of royalties from the oil production. Sarawakians also face the same problems as Sabahans - of lack of educational and economic opportunities, lack of basic infrastructure, lack of progress and development. Added to this, many are facing problems brought about by the policies of the Taib administration, ie loss of their NCR lands to mega-dam projects, logging and plantation companies. In fact, it is widely believed that members of the current government have heavily exploited the rich resources of Sarawak for their own gain. Only yesterday, it was reported in Free Malaysia Today that HSBC had reportedly notified all members of Taib  family that they are no longer allowed to hold accounts with the bank in a move to withdraw from ‘tainted’ active business. Therefore to hold Taib Mahmud up as the champion of Sarawak’s rights is irresponsible and a disservice to the people of Sarawak.

In principle, we are all in agreement about upholding the terms of the Malaysia Agreement, but we must look at the ideals behind it. Is it being upheld now for the benefit of the rakyat or to preserve and protect the interests of a few select individuals? We should not be blind to the fact that some so-called champions may merely be trying to hide behind the veil of the 18/20 points of the Malaysia Agreement while pursuing other less admirable agenda.

Pakatan Rakyat has promised that Sarawak will be given autonomy if we are given the opportunity to form the government, but we are doing it for far different reasons. As stated in the Kuching Declaration that was signed in 2012, we have not departed from the vision of our founding fathers, who were anxious to preserve our separateness and uniqueness even as they agreed to join in the formation of Malaysia. As a reminder, the recital of the Kuching Declaration is as follows:

Lest We Forget, And Lest All The Peoples Of Our Great Nation Of Malaysia Forget, We, The Undersigned, Do Once Again Firmly, Resolutely And Unequivocally Pledge And Promise Before The Whole Nation Of Malaysia As Our Witnesses, On This Historic Day The 16th Of September, 2012, In The City Of Kuching, And On Behalf Of Our Respective Parties And Pakatan Rakyat As A Whole, That When We Form The Next Government Of Malaysia, Pakatan Rakyat Will Honour All Its Pledges And Promises To The Peoples Of Malaysia.
We Will Honourably Execute All The Policies Set Forth In The Buku Jingga So That Malaysia Will Once Again Be A Great Nation, Her Peoples Prosperous, Her Future Secure And Peaceful, And Her Name Celebrated By All The Nations Of The World.
We Will Honour The Spirit Of The Malaysia Agreement Of 1963 Which Our Founding Fathers Put Their Hands To, And As A Sign Of Our Deep Commitment To The Peoples Of Sarawak And Sabah, Consistent With Democratic Principles And Justice For All Malaysians, In Particular:
ARTICLE ONE: EQUAL PARTNERS
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ARTICLE TWO: FAIR REPRESENTATION …

ARTICLE THREE: CITIZENSHIP
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ARTICLE FOUR: RESTORATION OF NATIVE CUSTOMARY RIGHTS OVER LAND …

ARTICLE FIVE: COMPETENT SARAWAK AND SABAH
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ARTICLE SIX: OIL JUSTICE …

ARTICLE SEVEN: EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT
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Let us never forget the warning of Charles Brooke in 1915 about those who come with “soft and smiling countenances, to deprive you of what is solemnly your right – and that is, the very land on which you live, the source of your income, the food even of your mouths…”
Let us not be misled by rhetoric. We must look at the reality of the problems faced by the people of Sarawak and apply our minds to understanding the cause of these problems and the solutions available to us.
Baru Bian
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan




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