KUCHING, Nov 26: It is now irrelevant to say that only local-based parties can deliver inclusive development to the state and its people, said Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Betong division chief Vernon Kedit.
He argued that despite being governed by local-based parties over the last 55 years and being the top three richest states in Malaysia, Sarawakians still remained in the bottom three brackets of being the poorest Malaysians.
Commenting on remarks made by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday and based on track records and facts, Vernon said it was irrelevant to say only local-based parties could claim to be the champions of Sarawakians.
“Based on the above track records and facts, can local-based parties claim to be the champions of Sarawakians when they could not even deliver the most basic needs like rural roads, healthcare and utilities like clean treated water and grid electricity, let alone uplift Sarawakians into the top bracket of richest Malaysians?” Vernon asked.
He cited an example where the yet-to-be-completed Sri Aman Hospital with countless earth-breaking ceremonies till now had yet to be completed.
He also wondered how the five per cent oil and gas royalties earned throughout the 50 years had ever helped Sarawakians.
“For 55 years, how were the five per cent oil and gas royalties used to help ordinary Sarawakians in their day-to-day living? With 20 per cent to be returned to Sarawak, who will benefit from this huge windfall? Politicians or ordinary Sarawakians? What is the point of shouting about our oil and gas if we ordinary Sarawakians do not get to feel its benefits?” Vernon questioned.
He emphasised that national-based parties like Democratic Action Party (DAP) and PKR were not Malayan parties but national parties found in every corner of the country and at both state and national level.
That is why, Vernon explained, they are national, not local.
“We have access to all levels, not just local. We are not confined to just one level,” he stressed.
Vernon added that national-based parties’ members in Sarawak were not Malayans but true blue Sarawakians holding Sarawakian identity cards, and national-based parties in Sarawak had autonomy in deciding state matters.
“So, to suggest that DAP and PKR in Sarawak are remotely controlled by Kuala Lumpur is mischievous, misleading and not factual.
“National-based parties have consistently championed the ordinary Sarawakians. In general, DAP speaks for the urban Sarawakians while PKR struggles with the rural Sarawakians to protect their native customary rights (NCR) land,” he said.
In fact, Vernon claimed, for 55 years, local-based parties had surreptitiously aided and abetted Umno-controlled companies to enter Sarawak and open oil palm plantations on NCR lands throughout the state while simultaneously shouting loudly that Umno is not welcomed in Sarawak.
He said although Umno was not welcomed by local-based parties, its controlled companies were still welcomed through the backdoor with open arms to rape Sarawak.
“This is a fact that local-based parties try to hide,” Vernon shared.
Vernon added that claims that only local-based parties could deliver development was just a rehash of the old “politics of development” propaganda.
“Development for who? For 55 years, Sarawak lagged behind in development and the ordinary Sarawakians saw very little development while big companies reaped the benefits,” he said.
He claimed that corrupt local-based proxies and cronies grew fat with the ill-gotten profits, flouting grand mansions and disgusting displays of wealth purloined from the state in Sarawakians’ faces while ordinary Sarawakians struggled to make a decent living.
Local-based parties’ politicians, he claimed, were now fighting for their relevance and survival, and the only way they know was to drum up the easily understood and often used strong sentiment of “Sarawak for Sarawakians”.
“The fact is, after May 9, the ordinary Sarawakians have realised that it is very possible to change the government of the day. Schools, hospitals, government offices and life will still go on as per normal.
“Local-based parties are now fearful that ordinary Sarawakians have realised this and is waiting for the coming election to vote them out of office,” reckoned Vernon.
So, can only Sarawak-based parties deliver the goods?
“My answer is a resolute and resounding ‘no’. Any party can deliver the goods as long as the party has proven track records of struggling for and with Sarawakians.
“Local-based parties like PBB (Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu), PRS (Parti Rakyat Sarawak), SUPP (Sarawak United Peoples’ Party), UPP (United People’s Party) and PDP (Progressive Democratic Party) have had it easy for the past 55 years as the government of the day. It is time Sarawakians choose a government that has struggled with them and proven their track record.
“Facts matter over political rhetoric. Let the above facts speak for themselves,” said Vernon. — DayakDaily