By DR KELVIN YII
STATEMENT: The reason that it is perceived by Barisan Nasional that there seems to be nothing “new” in the Pakatan Harapan (Sarawak) manifesto is because it encompasses basic rights and even development issues which the BN has failed to provide and deliver to the people even after being in power for more than 50 over years.
The difference is, we are serious about implementing it and restoring what is rightfully ours, including fully recognising our “wilayah” or regional status, being not just one of the 13 States. In comparison to the BN, who has the authority and power to do so right even now, but choses not to do so.
My statement is in response to Susan Chemerai Anding, the Political Secretary to the Chief Minister recent statement which accused Pakatan Harapan’s Manifesto of being “Nothing New”.
The reality is, until today in Sarawak itself, we are lacking so much basic amenities and infrastructure due to negligence and bad governance of the Barisan Nasional government. Even basic infrastructre including treated clean water supply coverage is only about 61% in the rural areas. Many of our schools especially in the rural areas are in dilapidated conditions.
The school buildings did not become into such conditions overnight. How did the State government allow it to get to this condition and only now put on a show to demand from the Federal Government? Why were they silent on the matter for so long?
That is the problem all along with BN Sarawak and all the component parties. They were silent all these while, standing aside as our State’s rights were eroded and left behind in terms of development. They are now trying to shift the blame to Dr Mahathir when it was them who have the responsibility to fight for our rights and interest.
The fact of the matter is none of the comments by Susan, or Ministers, disputed the relevance and attractiveness of the five thrusts to the people of Sarawak by PH. Instead they choose to personally attack Dr Mahathir and try shift the blame for their own negligence towards him.
They also fail to understand that Pakatan Harapan does not function like BN where there is an overpowering UMNO and other component parties are just subservient to them. This offer for Sarawak is not by Dr Mahathir alone, but the whole coalition of Pakatan Harapan and its leadership. The structure of our leadership is based on consensus leadership, where the different parties need to agree to the matter before it can proceed; something that may be foreign to the BN.
Whatever concerns people may have of Dr Mahathir, whether justified or not, we have the advantage of hindsight to prevent such things happening in the future especially when we come into power.
One of our main agenda will be the reformation of the different government institutions thus removing the power of the Prime Minister over different departments which are supposedly independent. The proposal to limit the Prime Minister’s term will also contribute to limiting the power of the Prime Minister and returning the powers to the people.
With the BN Sarawak leaders shifting the blame and going on personal attack on Dr Mahathir, speaks volume of their desperation and also the relevance of our five thrust to the people of Sarawak. We are determined to return what is rightfully belongs to Sarawak as well as to make sure the State receives equitable development and quality education for every one of our children.
• Dr Kelvin Yii is Special Assistant to the Sarawak DAP Chairman
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