[Letter to the Editor] Coming GE15 crucial for Sarawak’s future direction

Sambutan Jubli Intan pada 23 Julai ini merupakan satu lagi sejarah yang dilakar Sarawak.

By Lating Minggang

As I see it.

As Sarawak enters a new era in terms of its quest to become a developed state by 2030, this election indeed will be a good opportunity for the State to choose which Malayan political party the State needs to work with in order to help the State to develop on par, if not better, then Malaya with respect to infra development.

Furthermore, for Sarawak, it’s of utmost importance and crucial to ensure that the State continues to have political stability and economic prosperity for the sake of continuous development in the State.

Thus, in this coming election, it’s also important for GPS to win big as the State needs better bargaining power in order to have a better political formula rather than just a rhetoric or a mathematical formula.

With the change to equal partner status, Sarawak naturally is looking forward into obtaining the equality in other matters that includes, but not limited to, the following:

■ equality in budget distribution among the 3 equal partners,
■ equality in the representation in the civil service and Govt Linked Companies (GLC),
■ the listing of the state government’s technical agencies in the federal list inorder to facilitate the implementation of the development projects, more smoothly and efficiently.
■ equal in the representation in the Malaysian Parliament, (222/3)
■ to restore the spirit of being an equal partner i.e. by restoring the autonomy to Sarawak, within the framework of the Federal Constitution.

This election is crucial for Sarawak, as the Federal govt has yet to fulfill the many expectations of the Sarawakians, and among which is for the country to encompass an inclusive growth and social justice among the 3 equal partners.

For instance, the introduction of the share prosperity vision is lauded by the Sarawakians. However, to-date, it looks very good only on paper, because in reality it’s still far from the truth as Sarawak has yet to benefit much from it.

Thus, the State is hoping very much to see a better deal for the State following this election, with the new govt restoring and remedying all the imbalances between Malaya and Sarawak.

Furthermore, over the years, the State indeed has played an important role in nation building. This is in consideration that Sarawak has been, and still is, one of the main producers for the nation’s O&G and had contributed significantly towards the national GDP.

However, if we were to look at the recent annual budget regarding the amount being allocated by the Federal to the State, then only we realised that the State indeed had been shortchanged. Since the State is now an equal partner thus this inequality should not had been part of the equation anymore.

Hence, a strong MP representation from the State is needed in order to to have a bigger voice in Parliament.

Yesterday afternoon, PM Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri has called for an early election after months of rumours of political instability among the politicians in the ruling coalition.

The election was not due until September next year, however, it’s an open secret that the country has been riven by political instability since the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) was toppled in the last May 2018 election. It’s also the first time UMNO had been out of power in more than 60 years.

Following the PM’s dissolution announcement, the date of the election will be fixed by the election commission, and this normally will be held within 60 days of parliament’s dissolution.

However, the timing for an election now might not be appropriate owing to the fact that the south west monsoon season is very near, which is expected to begin in mid-November. For instance, even in some parts of Sarawak like Sibu, some of the areas have already started to experience floods with some roads being submerged in water.

Furthermore, the budget also had just been announced and this has yet to be tabled, in Parliament.

Therefore, it’s difficult to gauge whether the turnout will be good during this coming election, and there are mixed feelings too, among the people, as they viewed that the govt should had focussed more towards the management or the mitigation of the flood during this monsoon seasoon rather then calling for an election. They would preferred the election to be held early next year.

During this monsoon season, the plight of the rakyat who are directly affected in flood prone areas should had been taken into consideration.

Nevertheless, the State govt with GPS being the State’s ruling party is always ready for an election. — DayakDaily

Lating Minggang is the Walikota for Kapit District Council.

This is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of DayakDaily. Letters to the Editor may be lightly edited for clarity.