Sunday, June 20

COMMENT: 10MP offers nothing to the rural people

By Joseph Tawie

(This article was first published in the Malaysian Mirror and it is updated and published for the readers of the Broken Shield)

KUCHING: Glancing through the reports, there is nothing spectacular about the 10MP. As they say: “It is an old wine in a new bottle.” In other words, the same stuff from the previous plans.

For Sarawak, three particular areas of development are specially mentioned which are likely to involve the rural people: the proposal to build a total of 2,819 km of roads; to supply 87,400 additional houses with treated water and 76,000 more houses with electricity.

On top of this, there are also plans to address the poverty of Sarawak bumiputras through integrated development programmes and specific enhancement assistance.

The objectives of the 10MP are not dissimilar with those of the 1MP and other eight Malaysian Plans, that is, supply electricity, water supply and to address poverty in the rural area.

More than 46 years ago today, between 70 and 80 percent of the longhouse dwellers are still suffering from lack of treated water and 24-hour supply of electricity and more than 50 percent of them are still in the vicious circle of hardcore poor.

So what make you think that the 10MP is any difference from the nine previous Plans?

Baru Bian, chairman of Parti Keadilan Rakyat Sarawak nicely sums up the whole Plan: “Nothing for the rural Sarawakians to be proud of. We are taken for granted notwithstanding our wealth that has been taken away, stolen or sold off.”

As every one knows that Sarawak having oil and gas, timber resources and lands, is the richest State in Malaysia, and yet her people especially the rural people are among the poorest in the country. So has happened to our resources?

Squandered, stolen or sold off?

So if that is the situation where can Sarawak get her money for development?

Obviously the people of Sarawak are worried. Firstly, because the federal government may not have the funds to finance all the projects spelt out in the 10MP due to its heavy debts. The corruption and misappropriation of funds through scandals like Bank Bumiputra, PKFZ, Perjawa steel, purchase of submarines, jet fighters, and so on an so on are still fresh in the minds of the people.

Secondly, even if there is some money given to Sarawak under the 10MP, the people are also worried of funds for government projects going “leaked”. According to MACC reports, about 60 percent of government funds for the various projects in the past have been found to be “leaked”.

Peter Minos, former president of Dayak Bidayuh National Association, expresses the fear of leakages and improper use of the funds at the implementation stage, unless the Prime Minister gets in people who are honest and clean to help him.

And thirdly, the rural people in other Divisions are worried about the diversion of funds from other areas to SCORE areas situated between the coastal areas of Bintulu and Tanjung Manis.

Who dares to say anything if Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud wants the fund to be diverted?

A colossal amount of money, perhaps in the region of more than RM100 billion are expected to ignite the development of projects in SCORE. These include the building of roads, bridges, other infrastructural facilities and lands and crops compensations.

Other SCORE projects include two aluminum smelting plants to be built in Bintulu at a cost of RM18 billion. And the third one, as Taib Mahmud recently proposed, may need at least another RM10 billion to build.

But what about the proposed 12 dams that the Taib Mahmud’s government wants to build?

Here again the construction of these dams plus infrastructure, and perhaps land compensations, can easily cost more than RM100 billion. This is not to mention the hardships and the displacement of thousands of natives and submerge of thousands of hectares of land, and the flora and fauna that will disappear as the result of the creation of man-made lakes.

Adding to these mega projects, there are also an international airport to be built in Mukah to cater for bigger aircrafts, an administrative centre in Mukah and coal-powered station. These three projects are worth well over RM2 billion.

Is it necessary to extend this airport, when it is only a stone’s away from Sibu Airport, Bintulu Airport and Miri Airport?

Spending hundreds of billions of ringgit on SCORE is going to deprive other areas, especially the rural areas from being developed.

As I see it, of all the people, the Dayaks will suffer, and the lack of development will push them over the edge into the abyss of poverty. Already their problems are being aggravated by the fact that they have lost their NCR lands to companies, where they used to plant padi, cash crops and fruit trees.

All the rubber trees, fruit trees and cash crops that have been planted have been destroyed resulting in them losing their daily incomes.

Without their lands, the Ibans are just like fish without water.

As they have no lands in which they can plant padi, fruit trees and cash crops, many have started to migrate to towns and cities. But their lack of skills for works in the urban centres may complicate further their problems. It will be of no surprise, if there appears in their midst social problems – prostitution, smoking, drinking, robbery, drugs and drug-related problems.

They are just jumping from the frying pans direct to the fires.

Even if they do not migrate to towns and cities the Ibans will still suffer not only due to lack of land to farm, but also due to river pollution that will affect their drinking water, their sources of protein and their dependence on jungle produce such as ferns and bamboo shoots.

Whether they like it or not, they are forced to become labourers in their own land and are being paid between RM8.00 and RM15.00 a day.

Nor can they ever hope of getting dividends from a joint-venture undertaking with companies as they (the companies) use the funds to further expand the acreage of the plantation. Many in Kanowit, for example, have complained that they have not received even a cent from such companies, even though the companies have been in operation for more than 10 years. So what hope is there to have a better life from these companies?

It is the opinions of many Dayak leaders that if the government is really serious in helping the rural people then the government should not take away their land by force. As it is stated earlier, land is their life.

Instead the government should have come up with plans under the 10MP how to develop their land. Perhaps the government could have adopted the way the government assisted farmers in the rubber planting schemes A or B in 1970s.

Through these schemes, the farmers are encouraged to plant oil palm in a block of three acres per person with seedlings provided and fertilizers subsidized. Agriculture officers should be sent to check on the development of the farms and to ensure proper upkeep of the gardens.

When the palm reaches maturity, the fruits are collected and placed on a roadside; some authorized buyers will fetch the fruits and pay them on the spot. Through these smallholdings, they can earn as much as RM1,500 a day. Proofs of this can be seen today.

Since there is nothing in the 10MP, perhaps in the midst term review the government should consider some sort of concrete actions to help the rural people.

Left to their own devices, the Dayak poverty can escalate into an insurmountable problem, and it is indeed a time bomb in our society. It needs a spark to trigger it.


Mata Kuching said...

Mr Taib Mahmud had asked the voters in Balingian to continue to support BN although the people didn’t like him.

Mr Taib Mahmud knows that with the demise of UMNO controlled BN all the corrupted UMNOputras and BN leaders in East Malaysian states will be investigated. When Pakatan Rakyat takes over Putrajaya all UMNOputras and BN leaders including Mr Taib Mahmud will lose their immunity and protections . The MACC, Judicial, PDRM , and the Executive will be revamped and strengthened.

BN Sarawak reactions are understandable because they are running scared. PAS and PKR in Pakatan are not disuniting Muslims and the Malays nor compromising on the special rights of the poor Malays and Bumiputras who still need government assistance. Pakatan Raykat are against massive corruptions, power abuses, leakages and wastages of the UMNO controlled BN government. Malaysians who supported Pakatan Rakyat’s policies and governance are not anti-government. They are all for good governance and a corrupt free government.

AS the power to rule a country and a state lies with the people and not with politicians, no Malaysians will want to be hook-winked by themselves. To label the Opposition as anti-government and only knowing how to spread lies and “bark” are insulting the intelligence of the very people who hold the power to vote a government of their own choice. UMNO controlled BN is losing itself as the people’s choice and Malaysians are not only voting against BN but they have PR to vote for now.

UMNO controlled BN may actually be a good and effective Opposition party to offer check and balance on the Pakatan Rakyat government when the role has been reversed.

After 52 years of mismanagement by UMNO controlled BN government Pakatan Rakyat has passed the test as a viable alternative and earns the right to be the government in waiting.

It is no coincident that more than 60% of Sarawak are still undeveloped and more than 70% of the rural populations are living on less than RM700.00 income per month.

It is no coincident that about 20% of sub-urban areas like Santubong, Bako, Batu Kawa, Matang, and Siburan, just to name a few are still deprived of basic electricity and treated water.

Such is the direct results of mismanagement, corruptions and abuse of power of the UMNO controlled BN government in Sarawak led by the paramount pirate Mr Taib mahmud and all his stooges in the BN component.

Malaysians in Sarawak and including our oppressed and helpless brothers and sisters living in remote and undeveloped parts of Sarawak can not only deny the highly corrupted regime 2/3 majority and YES, WE CAN CHANGE THIS CORRUPTED REGIME in the coming state election. Together with our brothers and sisters in Sabah, we can deny UMNO of its fixed deposits in East Malaysia.


Anonymous said...

Part 2....
Have we also forgotten the Auditor-General's Report that revealed the govt. actually spent RM500 to purchase 1 unit of screwdriver, or the same govt car being pumped to full tank twice in just 1 minute apart, or Port Klang Free Zone's project that has ballooned to over RM4.6 billion from original budget of RM1.1 billion?

Today, when you drive thru Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), you pay RM 1.60. The govt said that you get 50 sen subsidy, else it should be RM 2.10. But, LDP was built with RM 1.42 billion, with a concession period of 1996-2030. And, the govt. is paying out RM 2.6 billion every year in subsidy to the highway company. So, if the govt subsidy is removed, you will pay RM2.10 each time you pass thru LDP. So the question is, who approved and signed the contract with the highway company? Who agreed with such toll rates?

In the UK, British students paid subsidised university fees. International students there paid fees between 8000-10,000 pounds per year. In Malaysia, local students took PTPTN loans of about RM21,000 for 3-year undergraduate studies. Foreign students paid only about RM15,000-RM17,000 for the entire 3 year of studies. The govt. is subsidising foreign students so that we can become the education hub. Why use taxpayer's money to subsidise foreign students? Why foreigners can get subsidised medical care at govt hospitals?

And, it's not just govt is proposing to reduce our subsidies, we are actually already subsidising govt projects! Let's take ERL (express train from KL Sentral to KLIA) for example. Did you know that each time you use LCCT in Sepang, RM5 of your airport tax actually goes to subsidising the ERL? LCCT passengers like yourself who don't use ERL are subsidising the ERL train service! I am not bluffing you, this has been confirmed by the Finance Ministry. Why are you paying subsidy to something that you don't use?

The govt spent RM1 billion in sugar subsidy in 2009. But let's don't forget, Malaysia's sugar is now controlled by govt's BERNAS after Robert Kuok sold off his entire sugar monopoly. So, that RM1 billion subsidy is actually for BERNAS's profits, which of course means "come out from left pocket, go to the right pocket". But remove the sugar subsidy means most food prices will go up. Our sugar price may be lower in the region, but our fresh graduates salary is also among the lowest in the region! And our food prices is already among the highest in the region. Just ask any tourist in KL if they find Malaysian foods are cheap or not.

According to Idris Jala, the government debt stands at RM362 billion and rising and may reach RM1.158 trillion by 2019 and the possibility that Malaysia may go bankrupt after the Greece footsteps. Actually this is against the statement made by Najib recently where he assures the nation that Malaysia is not affected by the Greece contagion. Why the contrast?

Actually, it is true that Malaysia is one of the most subsidised nations in the world. But think again, where else in the world that you can find so many tolled roads in every corner of the city? Where else you can find foreign students subsidised in universities? Where else you can a govt spending billions here and there, and tell you that "we are going bankrupt" because of subsidies?

Last week, we were told that Malaysia is 10th most competitive country in the world. But has anyone told you that 2 days ago, Malaysia has been ranked 102 (out of total 152 countries) in terms of average Internet speed? We are 18 times slower than South Korea! (Thailand at 63rd, Philippines 90th, China 76th, Spore 31st, Taiwan 36th).

Do you really still want your subsidies to be cut?
And Ibrahim Ali wanted Idris to resign!!!!!
All those who voted for Ibrahim Ali must be blind as he wants them to live in dreams and belives in lies of the BN!!!!

Anonymous said...

A comment by a reader and it shows some truth in it.
Subject: Fwd: who supports cut subsidy? Read & pass on.
Some of you are supporting the proposal to cut govt subsidies.... some of you are not sure... so, please read the following......

PEMANDU and Idris Jala are actually right to say that cutting subsidies could lower Malaysia’s debts, but the cuts will ONLY BE successful if leakages from corruption are plugged first.

For example, govt. subsidies are being given to Independent Power Producers (IPP), so that they can supply electricity to TNB and earn profits. The govt subsidies to the IPPs are worth RM13 billion every year. These include cheaper Petronas gas supplied to them.

There is a 20-year interest free loan of RM 320 million given to SYABAS, the Selangor water company. SYABAS is also a privatized company, why does the govt subsidise it by giving it 20 years of loan, free of interest?

The total deficit the government need to cover amount to RM47 billion. The total subsidy is about RM74 million. Removing the subsidies will NOT help reducing the deficits a lot, but a lot of poor and middle-class Malaysians will be affected.... Details of subsidies are Social (RM42.8 billion), fuel (RM23.5 billion), Infrastructure (RM4.8 billion) and essential food (RM3.4 billion). If this amount includes subsidies for health services, then PEMANDU must review the market price of medicine and pharmaceuticals and compare that with the price the Ministry of Health is buying.

In 2008, global price for crude is about USD140 per barrel, and the fuel subsidy the government have to bear was RM17 million. Today the global price for crude is about USD70 per barrel, yet the govt. fuel subsidy is RM23.5 billion. Why? Have we forgotten that recently the govt has spent RM8 billion on purchasing armoured vehicles and tanks? And another RM3.4 billion for the submarine that could not dive? Idris Jala claimed Malaysia consume more fuel per capita than many countries. That is correct. But, has the government made serious effort to combat the fuel subsidy leakage? Take fishing fuel subsidy in Sabah as example. There are 1,200 trawlers registered with the Fisheries’ department. However, there are only 200 real trawlers (physically present), this means there are 1,000 phantom trawlers enjoying fuel subsidies. How sure is Idris Jala that similar phantom trawlers do not exist in Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia (LKIM) registry throughout the country? And the govt is telling you that it is subsidising RM12,900 per household per year!

Lee Hui said...

To all Malaysians including myself. An inspiring speech and appeal by Hannah Yeoh of DAP.

So many people have been telling me just how frustrated they are with the current political situation in our country. Some have told me that they regretted voting for change because of the political instability now and would prefer returning to their old style of voting – vote for stability and forget about having a stronger opposition and greater check and balance. I shudder at the thought of this!

One needs to remember the reason why we are seeing such great resistance for change is simply because there is much to lose for those who have been in power for so long. For decades there has been so much abuse of power, unchecked misuse of public funds and plain dirty corruption. With a stronger opposition now, they stand to lose their illegal sources of income and some may even be charged and sent to prison if they are found guilty. With this in mind, they will fight at all costs to reclaim back power and to ensure they can continue to steal public funds from the people for their own enrichment. We are not just dealing with differences in politics; we are combating evil forces who will not rest till they secure back their powers and illegal sources of income.

Sometimes I feel equally frustrated and disillusioned about the political situation too. Sometimes I lie awake thinking of how to effect change in this land. Some days I cry while driving in between meetings thinking of what’s left for the future generation in this land if we give up now. I have endured much verbal attack from political enemies, accusation after accusation of me not doing anything for my constituents and etc. No one truly understands the resistance we face daily in discharging our duties except for my fellow PR assemblymen. Robert Kennedy once said *Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator and change has its enemies.*

Our enemies are resisting change but we must stand firm and continue to push for a competent, accountable and transparent government. At the end of each day, as I lay myself to sleep, I ask God for strength, wisdom and protection to face the next. I look forward to the end of the term when I can tell the people of Subang Jaya that I have remained clean and have not stolen any of the taxpayers’ funds.

As reminded by Raja Petra in his blog “*Please continue your struggle to make Malaysia a better place for our future generation. This country belongs to them and it is for them that we struggle.”

All hope is not lost. Come the next election, vote out the corrupt once and for all. Hang in there supporters and friends, the best is yet to come!

Hannah Yeoh

Anonymous said...

Well said Mister!! I am also of the opinion that the government has never been sincere in helping the dayak people. It has always been their wish to see the dayaks living in poverty, backward, illiterate and become beggars all their life. Whether we like it or not, "money is power" If the dayaks have money or if the dayaks are well educated,nobody would dare to take advantage of them or dare to take them for a ride. The CM or TYT would have been one from their tribe. But no, some very smart guys from a minority group knows how to read this game far too well than us. In order to win and in order to be the "Tuan" forever, they have to deprive the dayaks from all angles. Wake up dayaks!!! This is very dirty politics in action!!

Anonymous said...

“It is an old wine in a new bottle.” - i like old wine...the older the better...cheers

Anonymous said...

Idris Jalla is so-called professional and a paid worker. Most of us are paid workers.

The open idea about cleaning up the processes and cutting down wastes is not new. Many doubt that Idris is telling the corrupt BN people to change because nothing short of a Truth and Reconcilliation mechanism is the only thing we need - if we don't change the Government, hence the old wine in old bottles, provided it was vintage year. Someone could have put something in the ageing fruits.

Even with a new government as the Pakatan, no one should have silly ideas about an overnight miracle. Much work needs to be done and this work ensures the wine is kept in durable bottles. Perhaps, the idea of "bottle" or "wine" need changing. It's cliched already, lah! Perhaps we should make a new beverage and put those French vinyards, winemakers and other spirits such as "Cognac" out of bizness.

Idris Jalla is a mere agent. If he gets to be more, he has to work out not the economics but the politics. No one, not even those in the ruling Club of UMNO will implement what Idris was paid to do.

When Idris bumps into some info more valuable to CHANGE things, he might do 2 things. Get the hell out of BN and form his own party. Or he could just offer it for sale ! Everyone has a price!


Banting said...

Nothing to be proud of about 10MP as long as the distribution of the country wealth by BN government was unfair and unequal among the people.

Just look at the poor folks, especially Dayaks who formed the majority in the state of Sarawak, are still without piped water supply, electricity, proper access roads - these are the basic infrastructure developments that Dayaks expect as their rights.

The biggest flaws in the distribution of the country wealth was the way some projects were given out to individuals and companies without open to public tender.

In Sarawak, the Dayaks community are still living in poverty, despite the state is blessed with much natural resources like lands, timber and gas as the revenue from these resources are pumped away for mega projects which were benefited in the hands of the few rich, elite, the families and the cronies of BN ministers.

Anonymous said...

u reap what u sow...

the choice is in ur hand...

the good ,the bad, the ugly said...

I have just found out that those Iban who are train to be welders are much better than the chinese. I just employ 2 Iban welders becos the chinese demand higher wages. So I have no choice but to hire Iban and to my surprise they accept lower wages and their workmanship is much better than the chinese.Now I think I will keep them for a long time.
Who say the Iban are unskilled labourer!

Mata Kuching said...

Taib and UMNO controlled BN in Sarawak will not have any new strategy except to throw money and announce new projects as they have been doing for the past 48 years.

KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government while denying it had used development projects to woo voters during the Sibu by-election, nevertheless admitted that it approved 107 projects worth RM37.7 million during the campaigning period.

Despite that, 70% of Sarawak which comprised almost all rural constituencies remain undeveloped and deprived of even basic amenities, electricity and treated water.

If you have parents, siblings and relatives living in rural areas, do you still want to see them living in poverty and suffering financial and emotional hardships and confined to perpetual poverty and mental slavery by UMNO controlled BN government?

UMNO and PBB are controlling majority of rural constituencies to remain in dominant power and ensuring the rural population remain hopelessly out of touch with the reality of what a developed and modern nation can offer to every citizens.

Give them the moral and spiritual supports to embrace Change and vote against Corruption, Abuses and Mismanagement of the UMNO controlled BN government. The rural population and voters must gang up to choose a new government and they have a choice now in Pakatan Rakyat.

Mata Kuching said...

SNAP is back, the forceful whisper echoed across the rainforest of Borneo.

The return of “Rentap” against the axis of evil which for almost 30 years had colonised and enslaved the minds and spirits of the rural poor?

Through SNAP, Pakatan Rakyat will be in a stronger position to educate and free the predominantly poor Dayaks living in some of the most inaccessible parts of Sarawak from mental and economic slavery perpetrated by UMNO controlled BN.

The battle of the rainforest to defeat UMNO hegemony and Taib’s empire has begun!

Sarawak4Change! Vote Pakatan Rakyat!

Anonymous said...

Check this out

Mata Kuching said...

All the young Dayaks intellectuals currently in PBB, SPDP and PRS who are brave like “Rentap” and who can see for themselves how the Dayaks have been marginalised and neglected by BN should seriously think of quitting UMNO controlled BN and join SNAP to ensure the Bumiputras in Sarawak are on par with the Malays in term of preferential treatmeant. Even in the civil service, the Bumiputras in Sarawak form less than 10% as compared to more than 70% for the Malays.

The statistic for places in higher education locally was also lop-sided between Malay bumiputras and Dayaks bumiputras. Whilst the affirmative policies such as the NEP only benefited less than 20% of the Malays in West Malaysia, the situation in Sabah and Sarawak are worse with less than 5% of the bumiputras benefited in the East Malaysian states.

These are the result of blatant mismanagement of resources, funding and wealth distribution. The schemes of the development showed a systematic pattern in siphoning and squandering the people’s money in the 53 years of UMNO controlled BN government rule.

The window of opportunity is now wide open in SNAP for all young Dayaks intellectuals to work with the DAP, PKR and PAS in Pakatan Rakyat.

Sarawak4Change. Dayaks4Change. Save Sarawak. Save Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

SNAP is back. Spread the news to the Dayaks. Use your Shield, not broken.