Salam 1Malaysia. People First, Performance Now. I support the idea of PM Dato Seri Najib - ideas for the whole of Malaysia. However, in Sarawak the idea seems not as expected. I see instead is taking place. If Najib said, 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now, sadly in Sarawak, it happened - 1Sarawak, Ethnic-Family First, Cronies Now.
Let us discuss the issue of Bakun hydro project. Bakun Hydro is the largest hydro project in Southeast Asia which is located right in central of Borneo Island. Residents who didn’t want to move during exodus operation from Sungai Balui to the new resettlement in Sungai Asap in 1998 to give way for the Bakun hydroelectric project have been labeled and criticized by specific people as “anti-government". These people are trying to champion and hit the boss up for a particular purpose to gain attention and rewards from the influential and powerful. Those people are belonging to Cronies preferred under 1Sarawak political system – Ethnic-Family First, Cronies Now.
At the moment there are around 450 to 600 people from 15 longhouses who didn’t want to move to new settlement in Sungai Asap. The total number may be larger and the numbers given above are merely rough estimates. Residents that have objected moving to Sungai Asap are divided into two categories. The first category is the group that really could not move and rejected calls to move in 1998.
The second group is those who have moved to Sungai Asap, but returned to their original homes in Sungai Balui for many reasons. They also continue to live in Sungai Balui until now as the first category. The scenario show that they agreed to move to Sungai Asap in 1998 was solely due to the sweet persuasion and appeal made by the authorities, but returned to Sungai Balui, which is their original intention. It’s also proved to us that the promises made by the authorities prior to the exodus operation have yet to be cashed by the state government. Issues and problems being raised to the authorities then and now were not taken in precedence even though some ministers have visited Sungai Asap. The main problems and issues are still not resolved. During recent by-election in Sibu, the prime gallery publisher (in Chinese) over RTM TV2 highlighted issues faced by residents in the new settlement in Sungai Asap. Surprisingly, it was being suddenly stopped broadcasting without reason. Once again the government took a very great mistake and this cause more dissatisfaction among the residents of Sungai Asap which caused the government getting more unaware of what problems faced by people from the grassroots. Calls out from the stage was simple but actions are difficult to become reality. The human voice is a dwarf in the trash, ignored by the authorities.
For the first category, they chose not to move to Sungai Asap for their very own reasons. What’s clear is that they disgorged their dissatisfaction over the compensation paid by the government for lands, farms, houses and others to them.
In West Malaysia, the Malays or indigenous people involved in land development projects in which they are taken, were being paid amount of compensation in much larger and reasonable beside being defensible by UMNO politicians. In Sarawak, the indigenous and natives….. what they get ? As far as I’m concerned, they only get grievances and cries. No one is willing to listen to their cries. Even if there were leaders who went to visit them, they only sow promises that were not been identified and people are waiting……….. and at last they get nothing. No one is really willing to help and assist. But, when playing the game of politics, these politicians always make expressions of interests and sweet to win support.
I take quotes from newspaper The Star on 2nd June 2010 under the title, “Bakun area cleared at last ". The Land Development Minister said, “The last 35 families affected by the Bakun hydroelectric dam project in the Upper Rajang River basin have finally agreed to be resettled.” Then the Minister further said, “The government would compensate the 35 families if they had land and crops in the dam area.”
Hah ! To pay the compensation…? Hoh ! There is much compensation in 1998 until today yet to be paid. Still too much compensation……. compensation and the right of indigenous people have yet to be given and paid accordingly. That minister better find out with Land and Survey Sarawak first. With your super power, orders the Land & Survey to pay immediately. Do not delay the compensation payment. Oi ! tau - taulah . This is close to the election. In 1998 bit, the same tactics trap being installed to win the indigenous, in order to accept their calls to move to the new resettlement.
I love to do fair comparison. In West Malaysia there is FELDA. In West Malaysia there is UMNO. UMNO helps FELDA quite well and successfully developed in the future of the Malays. What the PBB (United Bumiputera Party) and the PRS (Sarawak People’s Party) can do to advocate indigenous of Sarawak. When PM Najib said, and was proud to introduce the concept of 1Malaysia, Sarawak political leaders didn’t want to lose and accept the concept of Najib with an open heart. Know what they say, “Ah ! We in Sarawak have practiced 1Malaysia concept long time ago. Only method and approach are not the same." Hah ! All are nonsense and false and purely political rhetoric. That is Sarawak politicians’ style. In actual fact, they have something hidden behind their agenda for not so motivated by PM’s 1Malaysia concept or any politicians from the West.
Back to Bakun hydro issues, sometime ago the residents (people who objected to move to the new resettlement) from Sungai Balui have received letters from the Land and Survey Sarawak asking them to move to safe areas and not allowed to live in the dam reservoir area, because in the near future their current home will be engulfed by water. Now, the Bakun hydroelectric project has been completed.
Nah ! This is the time, the Honourable Ministers and the Dayak leaders must show their champion and highlights the problems and give protection to the natives who inhabit the Sungai Balui . As far as I know, I’ve never seen a rank of minister of the federal nor the state government making a visit and see for themselves as what UMNO leaders did to the Malay in the Peninsula. Is there any Dayak leaders and bumiputera willing to do that? Even if the compensation were being paid, is the amount appropriate and fair? Before they move out to a safe place, the government should pay them compensation in advance. They did not ask more of rice than soup. What they are asking the government to pay, are merely the houses and gardens which they have gained over the years, because they need money to build new houses in later places.
If the concept of 1Malaysia - People First , Performance Now being truly practiced, then listen to the grievances and cries of indigenous people who have suffered much pain during the implementation of the mega project . Construction of the project was noted in the eyes of the world, whereas human voices as they dwarf were never being taken cared of. The government shouldn’t overlook at those people because they are part of Malaysia citizens, although they come from various political ideologies. Over the years, they never disturbed and threaten the construction of the hydropower project.
Many times, the PM has uttered and promised to look after the welfares of the poor. Thus, like the other citizens of Malaysia, they are very excited wanting to see and feel by themselves the truth of PM’s expression. The residents who live in the Sungai Balui are depending on rice crop cultivated on a small scale for survival and hardly send their children to school.
It is unfortunate for the people who are still living far inland and their welfares are not taken into account by the government. How can the government expect the high-income Malaysians, while the way of agriculture carried out are using traditional methods. How can the government and PM Najib want to see earnings from U.S. $ 7,000.00 to U.S. $ 15,000.00 if 1Sarawak, Ethnic-Family First, Cronies Now being continuously practiced. Young people who work with the logging camps will lose income once the timber industries engulfed by water. All this must be taken into account by the government.
Their only hope is, the government must listen to these people’s problems from the grassroots and not trying to politicize the issue. The Malay proverb says “Sambil menyelam meminum air atau harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi.” The element in the proverb is contitnously practiced in 1Sarawak concept. So is 1Malaysia concept being really practiced in Sarawak ? My fellow Sarawakians out there, let think about these. Such scenario I believe are happening throughout the state. So, show your real super power through the next election.