KAPIT, May 8: Democratic Action Party (DAP) candidate for Kapit parliament constituency Paren Nyawi knows that the odds are against him to replace incumbent Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi of Barisan Nasional (BN).
However, he is not going to let that deter him from his goal of enlightening rural folk on changing the BN government for the betterment of their and the younger generation’s future.
Paren, 37, who holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) is facing Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) strongman Alexander, who has been Kapit MP for the last four terms.
“I will work hard in this 14th General Election (GE14) to reduce Alexander’s majority. With the support from my party leaders, supporters on the ground, and the restless issues tormenting Kapit folks over the last 50 years, I am confident I can do that,” he told DayakDaily recently.
He said it is time for Kapit constituency to have a young, dedicated and idealistic parliamentarian instead of Alexander or even the seven-term Katibas assemblyman Datuk Ambrose Blikau Enturan.
He bemoaned the fact that the three districts of the Kapit division, namely Song, Kapit and Belaga, are among the most backward in terms of development infrastructure in Sarawak.
“Kapit is one of the remote areas without a road linking it to other towns in Sarawak. Apart from the new Song-Kapit road, we are still far behind because of this. My aim now is for Kapit to be connected to the rest of the state by road.
“Bakun Dam is in Kapit division and yet, most of the longhouses here are still without basic amenities and infrastructure, like electricity, piped water, tarred roads, telecommunications and most health and education facilities. If I am elected this time, I will fight for the above,” he said.
Another failure of the BN government is the huge number of young people in Kapit having to leave their home to go to another city or even outside Sarawak to find jobs to make a living.
“The Barisan Nasional state government is unable to perform its most basic duty by creating enough jobs to keep the population in the state. Because of that, most voters in Kapit are old folks or children, as the younger generation are working outside.
“If these working people can return to Kapit to vote, I may have a better chance. This is because the younger generation are Internet savvy, who are exposed to the outside and they know what is happening in Malaysia.
“With no electricity and telecommunication, rural voters are not exposed to information so it is hard for them to get updates on the latest developments,” he said.
Paren also said he have been on the ground for three years, trying to change the mindset of the people that they need to change their BN elected representative and government.
However, it is difficult to meet the village folks due to the vast areas that needs to be covered.
“Most of the villagers are in their farm during the day. The only way for me to visit them is to use longboat. There are many longhouses which are very far and deep in the rainforest, some up to five hours away.”
Paren, a native from Rumah Jarop in Song, worked in Kuala Lumpur as an auditor for 10 years before quitting and returning to Kapit to contest in the 2016 state election against Ambrose.
He lost by a majority of 3,053 votes but that experience had taught him many valuable lessons which he said will improve his performance in the general election. — DayakDaily