April 7, 2014
SIBU: The Chinese community in Sarawak have laid out their demands and expectation of Chief Minister Adenan Satem in a 10-point resolution.
Among the issues in the resolution are cheaper electricity, Chinese education, the re-establishment of the Bintulu Municipal Council, dredging of Kemena River mouth, cheaper air fares, upgrading of Pan Borneo Highway and appointment of Chinese community leaders.
The Federation of Chinese Associations of Sarawak presented the 10-point resolution to Adenan during his inaugural visit here after succeeded longtime CM Taib Mahmud.
The federation is an umbrella body for hundreds of Chinese associations in Sarawak.
Yesterday’s handing over was done by the federation president Wong Aik Luong.
The resolution carried justificationAS for each of the points stated. Among them were arguments for the government to lower electricity rates and extend grants to primary and secondary Chinese schools
On cheaper electricity, the federation said: “We have abundant hydro-electric power supply, and a lower charge will lessen the impact of inflation.”
On Chinese education, the federation urged the government to give grants to both primary and secondary schools.
“These schools lack funds for maintenance, equipment, teachers’ welfare and student exchange programmes, etc.
“(Currently) the federal government only gives allocations to primary schools for teachers’ salaries, water and power bills,” it said adding that Chinese secondary schools received no financial allocations from the government.
This aside the resolution also contained calls for cheaper airfares.
According to the federation, domestic airlines were ripping off users especially during festive seasons like Hari Raya, Gawai, Christmas, Chinese New Year and school holidays.
“The government cap the price of intra-Sarawak domestic flight services. The federation should set up a ‘Top Domestic Airfare Price’ package for domestic flights and flights between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, as airfares were too high during festive seasons.
“This uncontrolled opportunistic practice by domestic airlines has exploited the people of Sarawak and deeply hurt the tourism development.”
The federation also urged for the speedy upgrade of the Pan Borneo trunk road.
Don’t follow Malaya politics
As for the appointment of Chinese community leaders, the federation has asked to be consulted.
“(Now) appointment is solely recommended by BN component parties. These leaders may not represent the whole Chinese community,” he said.
Meanwhile SUPP Sibu chairman Wong Soon Koh called on the Chinese to return to Barisan Nasional under Adenan.
The community deserted Sarawak BN in the 2011 state elections and later in the 2013 general elections. Of the eight seats SUPP lost to rival DAP, seven were in Chinese majority areas and many of the incumbents were in their fifth and sixth term as assemblymen.
Speaking to the community yesterday in the presence of Adenan, Wong who is a Senior Minister, said he understood the community’s concern about whether their children would share the same opportunities as others and if they will be able to live with dignty and self-respect.
He reminded the community that Sarawak was not the same as Peninsular Malaysia and situations there need not be reflected here.
“Don’t follow the politics of Malaya. Anger and hatred sentiments can cause alienation, and alienation is an obstacle to unity.
“If left unchecked, it can result in increasing polarisation of the races. We must watch this with concern. We must arrest these tendencies with courage and resoluteness.
“There is no time now to dabble in rhetoric, in debating who created our problems or who should solve them,” he said alluding to issues relating to education, land, religious differences, employment, and business.
He said the people of Sarawak were an image of harmony as is visible in the widespread practice of inter-marriages and religious respect.
“Is there any point in being emotionally brave and foolhardy for a few hours or days during the election and regretting our conduct in the next five years, “ he asked.
~ Free Malaysia Today