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Letter to the Editor
By Russell Lim Jian Liang
Dear fellow Sarawakians,
First, I take this opportunity to point out how amazing and unique Sarawak is. We have so many different mixes of people of diverse ethnicity and religions. People are so friendly towards one another in Sarawak.
But now Sarawak is at a crossroad. I am a first-time Padungan voter and am concerned. The 12th Sarawak State Elections are around the corner and are to be held on Dec 18, 2021.
The decision that you make on whom or which party to vote for at this upcoming Sarawak Elections will determine our future. Please take me seriously on the issues that I wish to speak about.
It is not only every five years that we wake up like a hibernating bear and start to look for food.
We must be conscious of the fact that the person who we are going to elect will be consistent in the performance of their duties throughout the next five years.
We need good leaders and have this duty to elect proper, responsible, reliable leaders who are true to their people.
We need dedicated leaders who will work honestly and not preach one thing but practise something else.
For all our Sarawakians and especially the youngsters out there and those people who are not sure whom to vote for, let me pose the following questions for you to consider in your own time:
- Do you want leaders who can spin every issue at hand without any responsibility over how such ‘spinning’ will affect the future of us Sarawakians? Can we gamble our future away?
- Do you want a leader who comes out only in the last few weeks before elections to find out if you all are still alive and kicking? And they ask you the normal questions, e.g. “How is your family doing?”
- Do you want a moderate leader who will be there to help, or do you want a leader who is racially and religiously charged?
Let me share with you a video taken recently (07.09.2019) where Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg made some really soothing statements that touched my heart as a Chinese.
Abang Johari was heard saying:
“…hold the view that there must be fairness. You must be fair. As a Muslim, I look at the model of Medina Charter. When Prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina and looked after the interest of Muslims and non-Muslim. Medina Charter. Fair to everybody, including the Jews. That is history of Islam and I being a Muslim, I hold to that. You must be fair to both Muslims and non-Muslims.”
This is a true leader and behind him are two other great leaders, YB Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas who does a lot for our native people and for Unifor (Unit for Other Religions) and YB Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian who is helping our Chinese people relentlessly.
Now, do you know what they all did for Sarawak? Do you want to see their ‘Report Cards’?
In brief, they have done the following:
1. On 22.09.2015, the Sarawak Government in a historic move recognised the UEC (Unified Examination Certificate), and included UEC as a qualification for job applications in the Sarawak Government.
In 2014, during the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem’s time, the Sarawak government allocated RM3 million to help the Chinese schools. Abang Jo, together with Dr Sim, steadily granted an annual increment of RM1 million and as at 2021, the Sarawak Government provides an annual allocation of RM10 million to Chinese independent middle schools and RM10 million to Chinese primary schools in Sarawak. The Sarawak Government also established a Sarawak Chinese Education Affairs Unit to oversee the funding and affairs of Sarawak Chinese schools.
2. On 21.02.2017, the Sarawak Government allocated some 50 acres of good land at Kota Samarahan to the Chinese Independent School Board of Sarawak to reduce their financial burden and to support their self-funding projects which is a substantial help to protect the future of our Chinese education.
3. On 27.04.2017, the Sarawak Government established Unifor to promote inter-religious harmony, to help the other religions in Sarawak to thrive, and has given grants in millions to various religious organisations and houses of worships to build Buddhist and Taoist temples, Hindu and Sikh temples and churches. This is the true spirit of Sarawak to promote ‘Freedom of Religion’ as enshrined in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
4. In November 2017, the Sarawak Government implemented the Sarawak Government-owned mobile e-Wallet for cashless payment — Sarawak Pay and now known as S Pay Global E-Wallet payment system.
5. In February 2018, the Sarawak Government set up Sarawak Metro which introduced the Automated Rapid Transit (ART) System powered by hydrogen fuel cells and this will surely propel Sarawak into a modern city that we can be proud of, the first of its kind in Borneo, not even in Brunei!
6. In September 2019, Abang Jo’s government implemented the Methanol Project in Bintulu which will create plenty of job opportunities and generate millions in revenue for Sarawak.
7. In March 2020, the Sarawak Government fought and won the case against Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad) and this started generating billions of ringgits in revenue annually for Sarawak.
For more info, please see the case of Comptroller of SST v Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas)  8 MLJ 141].
Abang Jo, Uggah and Dr Sim all worked hard. The Sarawak Government filed a suit against the federal government and won! These are all historic achievements!
8. On 07.03.2021, the Sarawak Government launched the Kenyalang Gold Card (KGC), and this allowed senior citizens to enjoy special privileges and discounts on everyday essentials like groceries, food, healthcare, telecommunication, and transportation which helped them financially.
9. The Sarawak Government continues to fight for our autonomy by pushing for the amendments of the Federal Constitution to be in line with the spirit of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). We must all unite on this very important piece of International Agreement called MA63 that will determine our future in the Federation of Malaysia.
10. On 09.11.2021, Kuching was recognised as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy for its food heritage and diversity, boosting tourism and our economy. This will generate millions in revenue for Sarawak! For this, we must thank our Datuk Bandar Datuk Wee Hong Seng for the remarkable job done in such a short time!
11. On 24.11.2021, the Sarawak Government announced the setting up of five private international schools with an aim to raise the education standards and to promote English education. Education is so important, and this has been left neglected by the federal government for years.
When the Sarawak Government is being so concerned about the future of us Sarawakians by initiating the five private international schools, we should all support such positive drive. Otherwise, how are we going to compete with China, Vietnam, India, Singapore and even the Philippines who are all ahead of us?
12. From 2018 to 2021, the Sarawak Government has been driving and intensively pushing for a digital economy and e-commerce in Sarawak. This will bring Sarawak to a different level altogether.
We can become better than Malaya even when they have been taking so much of our resources!
13. The Sarawak Government has implemented various urban and rural infrastructure projects worth billions.
On the other hand, what has the opposition done?
I ask you to compare with what the opposition had promised the people of Sarawak.
I hereby remind you that they promised 20 per cent oil royalty and 50 per cent of the tax from Sarawak to be returned to Sarawak. DAP Chong’s (Sarawak Democratic Action Party chairman Chong Chieng Jen) statement was recorded on pages 64 to 65 of the Sarawak DUN Hansard dated 09.11.2017, which read like this:
“…Instead, Tuan Speaker we have here a Manifesto of Pakatan Harapan, that it is agreed, so long as we become the Federal Government, fifty percent of all tax revenue collected from Sarawak will go to the State. Will go to State’s coffer, you don’t have to beg. Fifty percent of all tax collected from Sarawak will go to the State coffers and twenty percent Oil and Gas royalty will also go to the State Coffers. You don’t have to beg.
Yang Amat Berhormat, so long as we become the Federal Government. Even if the State Government is Barisan Nasional. You don’t have to be a katak to jump over to Pakatan Harapan. But if we become the Federal Government, this is what we have promise. This is what we promise. Fifty percent tax revenue collected in Sarawak and twenty percent Oil royalty give to you, give to Sarawak. For you to decide and on top of that as if that not enough, education and…”
We, the people of Sarawak must ponder deeply on the pertinent question that if the Democratic Action Party (DAP) has been unable to fulfill their promises to us during their 22 months in power, what other reasons do they have to persuade us that they are able to do so this time?
How are we to trust and rely on them again when they have held the greatest number of Parliamentary seats in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, and yet have shown that they are either unable or unwilling to fulfill their Election Manifesto?
For a moment, let’s now remind ourselves of our duties to our beautiful Sarawak. Voting is a very important thing, like marrying a girl! You must choose the girl correctly!
Like choosing a lifetime partner, so vote wisely.
This isn’t about GPS vs Opposition – it’s about demanding honesty and integrity from our leadership and rewarding that integrity with our votes. So, vote wisely. — Dayakdaily
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.