Tuesday, August 31

Shocked by poverty of Dayak in Sarawak when there is so much wealth


Although I have in my travels seen abject poverty in such diverse places asAddis Ababa, Dhaka, Dar es Salaam, Kolkata, Mumbai and Manila, I must confess to a feeling of utter revulsion and anger when confronted by stark deprivation in our supposedly well-governed and prosperous Malaysia.

Comparison of poverty between Sarawak and Malaya

The pockets of rural poverty in the Malay heartlands of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu are islands of prosperity compared to the scene that churned my stomach and assailed my sense of guilt and outrage when I first ventured into the Iban long houses on the majestic Rejang.

Little personal dignity left

It is not enough that we have robbed them of their ancestral lands and impoverished them in the process, but we also felt constrained to strip them naked of any residual personal dignity that they might still have by introducing policies that have succeeded in reducing them to the fringes of mainstream economic life.

The Dayak are the forgotten people?

The Orang Asli tribes and the Orang Hulu, the Malays from the interior, have a great deal in common with their Dayak friends. For all we care, they are Malaysia’s forgotten people, but not quite. Whenever an election is underway, be it a by-election or a general election, they find themselves the centre of attention, in great demand by the rich and powerful, all claiming to love and care for them.

The Dayak votes were bought by BN

Before the day is out, they are the proud possessors of a handful of crisp 50 ringgit notes. Four or five hundred ringgit is a princely sum to them, a king’s ransom, no less, in exchange for their votes. If some of them have become cunning, manipulative supplicants and sacrificed their values for a fistful of ringgit, remember it is we who have corrupted them.

They almost lost their value system

Years of exposure to extreme poverty and unbridled exploitation have rendered many of these once proud and noble people, nature’s gentlemen, inured and insensitive to their own traditional values and value systems. They are reduced to living from hand to mouth, on handouts, from day to day.

The Dayak trusted their Government too much

What a tragedy to befall a people whose only sin is to trust those sworn to protect their native rights. They are bewildered to find themselves dispossessed, as their land is taken away without as much as “by your leave” for commercial exploitation by the towkay friends of the powerful.

We who are strong need to help the Dayak

Talking to many of them, the Ibans, I mean, I believe the only way we can restore their pride and dignity is by providing opportunities for regular employment. We are dealing with an ancient people with a distinctive culture. Even those among them whose lives have taken on an urban aspect continue to cling strenuously to their traditional practices. We who are strong have a duty to help the weak by not foisting on the Ibans and others our culture of corruption and other despicable practices.

Corruption in Sarawak is higher then that of Indonesia during election

Some years ago, an Indonesian anti-corruption activist friend of mine visited our country during the 11th general elections, as part of a privately funded election observer mission. His group spent a great deal of time in Sarawak and Sabah and told me that he was shocked by the scale of vote buying.

Election corruption is beyond expectation

I was greatly embarrassed by his revelation because at an anti-corruption conference in The Hague at which I was invited to speak and he was a participant some two months earlier, I had said that while vote buying was rampant in party elections, the practice was unknown in general and state elections.

I was unbelievably naïve to believe the Barisan Nasional government propaganda. The scale of vote-buying must have been so massive as to shock my Indonesian anti-corruption fighter, used as he was to living and working in a corruption-infested nation. It is not that easy to shock an Indonesian over a corruption issue. But unlike Malaysia, Indonesia is on the mend as far as fighting corruption is concerned. In Malaysia, on the contrary, it is in indecently robust health.

Poverty is caused by Government corruption

Malaysia is blessed with rich natural resources and poverty as we have seen in Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu can only be explained in terms of governance grounded on corruption and political excesses. When we look at the personal wealth accumulated by Chief Minister Taib of Sarawak at one extremity and the Ibans at the other, one begins to wonder what the future holds for Malaysia. I am not at all sanguine.

The thieving and plundering by the Government must stop

The thieving and plundering by those in power must stop because, as history tells us, it is only a matter of time before the forbearance of the long suffering poor takes on an ugly aspect, with consequences too dreadful to contemplate. The Government of Malaysia and the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak in particular can alleviate poverty by governing in the sole interest of the people. Najib’s people first is under close public scrutiny.


Sri Belalang said...

I believe what Tunku Abdul Aziz has written. What about Dayak leaders in BN? Do they believe it?

If you put a question to them, probably they will answer you, " The opposition is specialised of telling lies so that the people will hate BN."

Even if the opposition writes factual and truthful information, they will say it is misleading and baseless.

Guilty dayak leader said...

Thank you Tunku for bring gthis issue to the forefront.You know this have been going on for years but those dayaks leaders, from Jugah to James Masing have done nothing to uplift the living standard of the dayaks. Infact these dayak leaders have all join hands with the crooks to steal and plunder from these poor dayaks.
I can see how rich Linggi, Leo Moggie, Salang, Masing, Jabu,Mawan,Donald Lawan and many more which I have not mention.These are all the paramount leaders who have swear during the 'miring' ceremony that they will use their blood to protect their dayaks race but when they are elected using dirty tactics, they have all forgotten about that pledge.
Jst ask the rural folks how many times have they seen their Ybs and MPs. As they are poor in maths but they can still count that 'few' times they came and that 'few' times is when they need these poor folks votes.They don't come to ask for their votes but instead came to cheat and bluff for their precious votes.
That's why,Tunku, we all see these rural folks still living in the primitive way.The state gov't have till now refuse to acknowledge this and Jabu have personally told the media that poverty in the rural areas are been overblown by outsiders. He even have the guts to say that the living standard in the rural ares have been uplifted.
After 53 years of independence, the gap between the urban rich and the rural poor is getting wider.
The only way to close this gap is to vote wisely and not to be cheated of your precious vote.

Wan said...

najib's people first is been completely dismantle by taib, the white hair dictator of sarawak.

Anonymous said...

It just show how little west malaysia knows or refused to know about sarawak.
I am glad that this issue is finally brought out in the open hoping that there will be corrective action taken. I hope this is not wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

To BN leaders Dayak YBs in particular they tried to hide away their weakness and shamefulness for failing to safeguard the interests of their community. They are all lapdogs and puppets politician who lived in the denial worlds of corruptions.

Mata Kuching said...


Taib says, ” if people disciplined and focused, Sarawak can be richest state by 2030.”

If Taib Mahmud had managed to make himself the richest man in Sarawak one year after becoming the 4th and longest serving chief minister of Sarawak, it shows Sarawak could have been the richest state with its timber revenue alone plus 5% royalty from Petronas when Taib’s uncle and mentor ,Abdul Rahman Yakub was the 3rd chief minister. It was totally rubbish for Taib now to say that Sarawak can be the richest state by 2030. It shows Taib should rightly belong to where Trinekens dispose of the trash they collected.

Sarawakians now have no choice but to take national politic and state election seriously and vote out UMNO controlled BN government and Taib Mahmud and all his thieves.

We must change and change we can. We must help our rural brothers and sisters who are still living in poverty after almost 50 years of BN rule, to free themselves of mental slavery and the colonisation of UMNO controlled BN government.

Let us say to Taib Mahmud, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”. Kick him and BN Sarawak out. Vote Pakatan.

Apai Semalau said...

You don't need to be a rocket scientists to conclude that all the present Dayak Ybs. are there not to help the dayaks but to rape and plunder Sarawak for their own selfish ends! They would rather see their rural communities bonded in poverty so that every time an election comes round they can exchange $$$ for votes. We dayaks have been abused by our own kind for too long and its about time we learn to speak our mind. We deserves more, thus we need to vote out all our present Ybs. who are, but "ball shiners" and cowards when it comes to fighting for our NCR lands!

Asri Rahman said...

From all Sarawakians to BN ADUNs. READ our lips, ” WHAT WE GIVE WE CAN TAKE BACK ”

The people’s vote should be the most powerful element in any democratic government. The whole government is indebted to the mandate given by the people. It is the people who have full ownership of the government. What the people give, they can rightfully it take back. The elected candidates owe the people (not Taib) their allegiance.

Ingat betul- betul! The people of Sarawak decides and it is not for Najib, UMNO, PBB, SPDP, PRS, SUPP and all their stooges to decide if Taib stays.

Kunchitmerah said...

The State Government (SG)had brought Najib over to Rumah Julia in Betong. This particular longhouse is a modern one which is air-conditioned. This is the only longhouse which I know is air-conditioned. Therefore, it does not represent the ordinary longhouse which the Iban dwelt in. I would like to take the liberty to say that, this Julia's longhouse was chosen because of a recommendation from our own Dayak leader and/or leaders. If the Iban is that well to do, judging from their longhouse, why should the Government help them any more. There are more deserving people. However, this is not the true picture of the life of the Iban. In the aspect, the Iban leader concerned did not realise the implication of showing Najib Julia's longhouse. It would be more meaningful if Najid were to be shown the longhouses Tunku mentioned in his write up.

Anonymous said...

The salient fact is that the Dayaks themselves are so weak both in terms of spirit and intellect that they continue to vote for BN. Dayaks are destined to be eliminated as a race in future. Heaven cried for them.


The Greatest Tunku said...

Read this posting from a great man in MI...

Seeing the back of Musa: An answer to a prayer — Tunku Abdul Aziz.

This author is one of the greatest man malaysia ever have and we are truly proud to have such one great man. I pray for his health that he may live forever. I salute this idol of mine.

Anonymous said...

Dear BS Blog,

There always has this perception in Sarawak Dayaks, particularly the Iban, that to become a YB is the ultimate goal for prestige, and eventually, the wealth for self-interest while holding their position and deceiving their fellow Dayaks. These YBs have no principles and conviction to improve the quality of life of their rural folks. There is no surprise that the Dayaks are at the bottom of socio-economy leader, and the poorest of the Malaysian society. As others have expressed, if trend of suppressing Dayak continues, they will disappear from society in a very near future. We the Dayak intellectuals will NEVER let this happen, we will fight to the last breath for our culture, social values and our basic rights for recognition in Malaysia.