With all the bickering going on in the political landscape, it appears that the powers that be have forgotten who will tip the scales in the next General Elections.
Have you read this post called East Malaysia: the REAL Third Force in Malaysian politics by RPK? There he argued that whoever gets to form the next federal government and whether it will be with a simple majority or a two-thirds majority will depend on East Malaysia.
In terms of facts and figures, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan control a total of 57 parliament seats out of a total of 222 seats which means 165 parliament seats belong Peninsular or West Malaysia are almost equally divided between BN and PR. You can see the breakdown AT THIS LINK. that outlines how PKR started off on a wrong footing in Sabah and Sarawak.
Realistically speaking, BN and PKR have been trying to make a headway in the East Malaysian scene. We are well aware of why BN has won most of the votes. However, PKR can forget about making a headway in East Malaysia for many reasons. Check out THIS LINK that gives quite a detailed explanation from the viewpoint of a Sarawakian.
Many of us who have been following online news portals are well aware of the challenging and pressing issues faced by our East Malaysian brethren but may not be aware of the way some are trying to impose their agenda on them without taking into consideration their background, culture, needs, motivation and so much more.
For far too long, Sabah and Sarawak have not been enjoying the attention or development that they rightly deserve despite making that decision to join Malaysia. Just imagine the indignation they feel with regards to their oil royalty, or the fact that despite being the states with the richest resources, there is much poverty and underdevelopment that persist.
Think of how their resources are being plundered, how the NCR land is being taken away from them including their ancestral land, temuda, pulau galau, pemakai meno etc. How much longer can East Malaysians continue to suffer the effects of controversial dams and charcoal plants? How much longer can they tolerate the manner in which the population ratio is being tipped in favor of foreigners who are given MyKads so easily?
Concerns have been expressed as to how they seem to have lost their 18/20 Points agreements and the older folk who are not connected still think the world of the ruling regime.
Just look at their infrastructure and compare these or what is lacking with the glam shots of socialites in Sarawak Report and I am quite sure your heart may bleed at the injustice of it all.
Honestly, I wish MPs in East Malaysia would rise to the occasion for the people of Malaysia and make that difference in the next General Elections.
I opine that the Sarawakians and Sabahans must rise up and reclaim their land. Currently, many are toothless in terms of fighting for the people. If they offer new leaders of calibre and WIN BIG TIME, this will surely tip the scale of power and BN will no longer be in power. I am well aware that there are many capable Sarawakians and Sabahans who can lead their state governments if only they are given the chance. Even if they are NOT given the chance to do so, by all means, set up your own party somehow and stand for elections!!! Or offer worthy and capable candidates who will fight for the people’s rights and not that of a few persons with their own selfish agenda.
Most sincerely, I appeal to them to truly step forward. The time has come to move forward and with all the fighting that is going on in West Malaysia, it almost seems as though the last vestige of hope is in East Malaysia. And I believe it will happen if they arise and claim back what rightly belongs to them.
To understand further issues that are affecting Sarawakians, please read DAYAKS – ARISE, UNITE AND CLAIM BACK YOUR LAND
In the early 90’s Taib came up with his so called visionary “Politics of Development“. In various gatherings and speeches, he told Sarawakians then that his new found idea would transform Sarawak into a model state in Malaysia.
Under this noble idea, land will be developed and people will reap huge benefits and would improve their economic and social being, so he claimed!
However, large tracts of land are owned by the Dayaks who have acquired them through native customary rights which is provided for under Sarawak Land Code 1958.
Taib saw that the land code as a stumbling block for his “Politics of Development“. So, he went on to change the provisions of the land code pertaining to Native Customary Land especially S5(2) not once but FOUR times. The manner in which he passed those amendments is akin to a boat owner fixing leaks in his boat!
In 1994 minister in charge of land matters was given the power to extinguish native customary rights to land.
In 1996, the onus was placed on a native claimant to prove that he has customary rights to the land
In 1998 mechanisms for assessment and payment of compensation were put in place in event of compulsory acquisition.
In 2000 the amendment deleted “any lawful methods” as set out in S5(2)(f).
In 2002 following Nor Nyawai case, Land Surveyors Ordinance 2002, was passed allowing only licensed surveyor to make, authorize or sign any cadastral map. It means only Land & Survey Department can come up with a map!
Following Nor Nyawai case, Taib passed another law relating to land matters – the Land Surveyors Ordinance 2002 which provides for only licensed surveyor to make, authorise or sign any cadastral map. It means only Land & Survey Department can come up with a map! So Dayaks can no longer prepare their own map of their own area by themselves or by a third party.
So by now, Taib has fixed all the leaks, and the Dayaks are in a fix!
The net effect of these amendments is to legalize the process of taking away native customary right land (NCL) and alienate them to politicians, cronies, relatives who in turn sell them to big time oil palm planters!
And so began the process of land grabbing by the State which is run by state Barisan National , led by party Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu of which Taib is the president.
As the laws are being changed, the process of giving away licences and provisional leases to whosoever Taib desires, began in earnest. A number of licences and provisional leases have been issued by Taib to his family members, cronies and who later sell them to local and private oil palm planters.
The provisional leases holders armed with the lease waste not time and start working on the land indicated in the lease with little regard to the presence of people’s garden, farm house, farmed area, buildings/structures or even burial ground!. To them everything that stands on their new found land is theirs and can be removed or bulldozed at will. Past records have indeed proved that they could do it with impunity! They have the “papers” whereas the NCL owners have nothing to show other than the crops that they have planted for ages!
This is how some of the confrontations occurred between the new land owners the NCL owners who are 99% Dayaks. The number of cases that are pending court hearing is almost reaching 200. But some just gave up fighting against the might of Sarawak state government – a government who always claim that they care for the rakyat at least during election time!!
Where can the NCL owners turn to defend their rights?
Nobody, Nobody, Nobody !!!!
Seriously, I hope PR leaders and everyone else in the Opposition would stop washing dirty linen in public. The time has come to unite and to fight the common enemy who is laughing all the way to the poll station. East Malaysian brothers and sisters, please…spread the word and ensure that we work together to effect that change we need in this country!!!
To me, that is the only way forward…
Truly, it is NOW OR NEVER!!!
Masterwordsmith is a retired lecturer, bibliophile and blogger who hopes to see a better Malaysia in her lifetime.