Sunday, April 23, 2006

Politics Sarawak Style

" The existence of an opposition, without which politics ceases and administration takes over, is indispensable to the functioning of
parliamentary political systems. " -

It is hard to be in the opposition, or vote for the opposition party, in Malaysia.

How can the people dare vote for an opposition party's candidate when in doing so the people are punished? Punished by the ruling government of the day from receiving developments in infrastructure, agriculture and the like, in constituencies where the people have voted for the opposition party's candidate.

Don't people, in a democracy, have the right to vote for whomever they want? When a person is elected into office doesn't he have the right to represent the people who elected him? Is his voice, representing the people who elected him, of lesser value than the ruling majority's representatives'?

Isn't the government of the day supoosed to have the best interest of all the people, and not just to those that put them in office? Isn't the government of the day supposed to be the government of the people/state/country?

I cannot believe what the Chief Minister of Sarawak just said, “If a BN candidate wins, I can work with him. If the opposition wins, how can I work with people who criticise and oppose me?" Isn't he essentially saying, "Vote for my candidates or else, .."? I guess in Sarawak, the Chief Minister can only work with "Yes" men, and anyone who dares criticise him, will be left out in the cold. Isn't that how dictators and despots work?

It is insufferable for the government, in order to keep a hold on its power, to threaten the people by withholding development projects from their constituencies, if they do not continue to keep them in power.

As it is, the state of Sarawak has a very weak opposition. The perception of the people, is that those in power are there to promote their self-interests rather than the interests of the people. The much touted "Politics of Development" seem to benefit certain groups of people more than others. The remote areas of Sarawak have received very little of the projects promised to them despite having voted for the ruling majority so many times before.

What choice do the poor rural folks have, but to continually believe that the government will bring the promised projects, by faithfully voting for the ruling majority's candidates? When you are poor and desperately want development and progress in your rural part of the world, it is hard to ignore the "baits" and promises laid out by the ruling majority each time an election cycle comes around.

The day when the opposition party in Sarawak holds the ruling majority accountable is yet to come. For now, any criticism leveled by the opposition to the ruling majority is simply swatted off like a pesky fly.

The Star Online > Nation

Sunday April 23, 2006

Taib: I cannot work with people who oppose me


MIRI: The indigenous people in the state can use the coming Sarawak polls to decide whether they want development, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

He said he could only “lead the horse to the water but could not force it to drink.”

He added that it would be impossible for the Sarawak government to work with those who opposed everything the Barisan Nasional planned to do.

“I am saying things bluntly. The state elections is the best time to show what you want.

“If a BN candidate wins, I can work with him. If the opposition wins, how can I work with people who criticise and oppose me?

“This is straight talk, so that you know where you stand. We minimise quarrels if we want to move forward. I say don't fight or else we will frighten away investors,” he told a gathering of senior leaders from the Orang Ulu communities during an open dialogue with them here on Friday evening.

Highlighting the massive development projects he had brought to Sarawak, the country's longest-serving chief minister said if the voters chose to vote against Barisan in any constituency, there was nothing he could do for them.

Sarawak is about to face its ninth state polls.

“This is the awkward scenario. No private investors will come and start projects in areas where there are protests all the time.

“The government alone does not have the massive amount of money needed to bring development to very remote areas. For example, in the highlands, any infrastructure development project will cost over RM200 million.

“If there are protests all the time, these investors will not dare to come.”

Taib said the state government under the Barisan, had established a credibility that was well known even in foreign countries and this had greatly helped spur socio-economic growth.

At another function in Kuching yesterday, Taib remained tight-lipped over poll dates and refused to say when he would meet the Yang di-Pertua Negri to seek the dissolution of the State Assembly.

He also declined to say much about Barisan Nasional’s list of candidates, disclosing only that it was “about two-thirds finalised.”


  1. Politic for most Malaysian: None of my business, it doesn't concerned me, it won't change anything and most of all, fear for a change.

    Given current system, all the networks (to whatever business) secured if ruling party have their way in every single election. No one, particularly those in business would like to take the risk. And it's difficult to explain to some people the importance of opposition's balance in our parliment.

    It only shows our unmatured self if we felt threaten by statement like that. But then that's the whole point, isn't it? Why government kept feeding it's people, giving fish instead of teaching one how-to.

    Dato' Seri Ong Ka Ting once urged (if not challenge) those who wish for a social change should join politic, a statement which could literaly translate into: Join us or just listen to us. We suppose to be good citizens, appreciate the government's effort, support them even if our house is flooded.

    I think what we need now is the personal initiative to learn and understand the whole political scene and policy making process, making the necessary tiny changes slowly walking towards the environment that we want.

    We certainly do not want something like Nepal now -- which is why "Vision 2020" sounds more like "Happy 2200" to me.

  2. I believe if the opposition is decent and stick with the issues our CM will accept him. We have to see it both ways. When the opposition campaigns, they hit below the belt in their effort to get the votes. That's why there is always this animousity with the opposition. If they just stick to issues maybe its okay but if people attack his family in the campaign, calling him names you won't call anyone else and expect some form of assistance after the opposition, it would be a sign of weakness. The opposition will say, even if I vote for the opposition development still comes. That is the case for Kuching City - its really hard to win the seat. Last year Kuching was won by DAP. But Kuching must continue to develop as its the Capital. So in the rural areas the politics is a bit Cowboy style.


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