Sarawak under-development: Shame on us

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Sarawak is not a poor state and it has an income that is similar to Selangor’s. But a short distance away from towns lie settlements where people do not have electricity and piped water and use pit-latrines. Where has all the money gone, wonders SD.

Seratok is a beautiful little town near Sibu. It has four schools and all the amenities that we in Peninsular Malaysia take for granted.

A half hour drive from Seratok took us to a longhouse. The drive itself was an experience because a few minutes off the main road and it becomes gravel or just red earth.

The locals laughed and said that it is one of the usual campaign promises – “vote for us and roads will get done” – for the past 30 years. The approach road to this particular long house was mud (red clay?), full of pot-holes and totally dark.

When we finally arrived, I was relieved to see lights – but in a very short time found out that each unit within the longhouse has its own generator. The Orang Asal buy petrol and spend from RM200 to RM300 a month, depending on the size of the generator. There are electrical cables along the main road but it needs the personal signature of the Adun before it can be connected to the long house. If any of the electrical cable poles stand on oil palm land (taken from NCR land), the people have to pay RM500 for each tree displaced.

As we had dinner, our hosts apologised for the lack of water supply. The pipe from the river had broken and they had been without water all day. This was a fairly common occurrence. Later in the evening, I used the washroom and was pleasantly surprised to see a toilet bowl (though in darkness because there was no light – the ‘line’ had been pulled to the front of that house unit.) But after that I looked for plumbing, using the light from my handphone to search the area. I even went all around the generator that was thudding away next to me. No plumbing! It was the ‘pit-system’.

READ MORE:  When roads are paved with potholes

Hellooo – this is 2011 and half an hour away from town people do not have electricity, piped water and use ‘pit-latrines’! What have we been doing the past 50 years? Sarawak is not a poor state and it has an income that is similar to Selangor’s. Where has all the money gone?

Shame on us that the Orang Asal have been so bullied … so left behind.

They are Malaysians too.

SD is an Aliran member who recently visited Sarawak

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Philip Khoo
Philip Khoo
1 May 2011 3.19pm

But perhaps perceptions of “outsiders” and of “insiders” differ as to what’s acceptable? Else, how do we explain voter behaviour? In the case of Saratok, one DUN, Krian went with PKR; however, almost 40% remained with BN, despite the broken promises and the obnoxious personality of the incumbent. In the other, Kalaka, 68% went with BN, a drop of 14 percentage points from 2006, but still a whopping 68%. As for Samarahan, both Muara Tuang and Asajaya went with BN in astounding proportions: 78% and 71% respectively, down a mere 1 and 6 percentage points from 2006, respectively. And on high turnouts of 79 and 77%, respectively — so not even a protest by abstention. Sadder still is the Lg Kevok area. This is part of Apoh Penan country, one focus of the rape accusations and of Penan Support Group activity and, apparently, of the recent donation of transport vehicles. Of 64 valid votes at Lg Kevok, 35 went to BN and 24 to PKR. The Lg Kevok voting station covered Lg Kevok, Sg Layun and a “Lg Jenalong Melanah”, the last probably a grouping of… Read more »

Mr.True
Mr.True
15 Apr 2011 5.20pm

Thank for your exposure.
The statement that your have made is very very shamefull to us ,as a Dayak in Sarawak.But what to say, it is reality.The figure that you had met is much better than my village.My village consists of 54 families.35 families are living in the long house.It is located between Gedong and Kota Samarahan.We are BN strong supporter, But after 47 years under BN ,we have nothing.No water supply ,electricity and road.Worse still our area are surrounded by oil palm plantation.

So ,can you imagine the situation?
It is BN”Broken Promises”
This is True statement and real situation.
Thank.