As we return home to be reunited with our families to celebrate and give thanks to God for his blessings in another bountiful year, I would like to wish you all a happy and meaningful harvest festival.
Amidst the merrymaking and the feasting, however, I urge everyone to take a moment to think about the future of Sarawak and the generations to come. It is well-known that Sarawak is a land blessed with great wealth in the form of its forests and oil deposits. Sadly, this wealth has not been equitably distributed to the people of this land. Over the years, the bulk of this wealth has been plundered by those who were trusted to govern the state.
Politicians and the well-connected have been enriched at the expense of the people whose lives are deeply rooted to the land. The greed of these people knows no limits, as evidenced by the many cases of land grabbing taken to court and the revelations made by investigative journalists such as Sarawak Report. There is a profound saying by Mahatma Gandhi: Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed. It is time to curb the greed of the ruling elite - the rakyat must rise up to protect their rights and claim back the heritage that has been stolen from them.
Recently the people have shown that they are no longer willing to accept the injustices perpetrated by the current government. Hundreds of thousands came out to support the call for clean elections at Bersih 3, exercising their rights to peaceful assembly. The authorities injured many innocent citizens that day by violent means. Recently, a few notable people including Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali have been charged under the new Peaceful Assembly Act. We must ask ourselves why the BN government does not support the call for free and fair elections and punishes those who call for the election process to be cleaned up.
This Gawai season, I call upon Sarawakians to rise up to the challenge of PRU13, to treat your votes as sacred and priceless. Your votes represent your future and the future of your children and grandchildren. I urge you to reflect on what you have achieved after so many years of BN rule. Why is it that so many are still without access to electricity, clean water, proper roads, healthcare, education, employment and advancement? Why is it that the BN government only goes to visit your villages to make promises during election year? How many of these promises have been fulfilled?
I am confident that like our brothers and sisters in Peninsula Malaysia, Sarawakians are no longer willing to accept the injustices that we have been subject to. We will no longer be taken for granted by the BN as their fixed deposit. Let us exercise our free will to vote for a new government that is competent, accountable and transparent. A new government of Pakatan Rakyat will restore justice and equality for everyone and work towards a just distribution of wealth for all Sarawakians. When that eventuality materializes, we can truly look towards celebrating bountiful harvests and ever improving prospects during the Gawai Dayak season.
SELAMAT HARI GAWAI DAYAK, GAYU GURU GERAI NYAMAI
N70 Ba’ Kelalan /