Rich Sarawak, poor Sarawakians?

Sarawak like Canada has oil and gas. While Canada is one of the seven richest nations in the world, Sarawak is one the least developed regions of the world.

Apart from oil and gas, Sarawak is richly endowed with timber resources such as tropical lowland forest. We have large hinterland. We have big rivers that can be used to transport rural products to sea ports. We have coal and silica sand deposits. We have hydro-electric power. And in Bintulu, we have deep water front, which is suitable for deep-water ports.

Are all of these not enough for less than three million people?

Why are we in this present predicament: low income, poverty, lacking significant infrastructure, low-skilled human resources, peasantry in nature, and so on? We have hydro-electric, yet we do not have electricty. We have lots of rivers, yet we do not have clean drinking water. We have land, yet we do not have roads.

We are rich and yet we keep on asking for allocations for this and that?

After 52 years of self-government, we are still talking about minor rural projects (MRP) like zinc roof, planks, nails, and so on.

We have many projects that are supposed to make life in the rural areas comfortable like community halls, but many of them have become white elephants.

I have slept in many community halls in Sarawak. Most of them have broken toilets and window panes.  Why do we want things that we do not need and care about?

Why are we in this situation, while we should be progressive, dynamic and enjoying our lives. Why are we not developing approriately, adequately and fast enough?

Have we managed our resources efficiently, effectively and economically? Did we use our resources properly? Or have we been wasteful?

The question is about fairness, equality and equity? Have we been fair in our decision-making, in policy implementation, in allocating resources, in our distributive and re-distributive policy?

Adenan Satem has said that he is the Chief Minister of and for all races, not just of and for the Malays or the people of Kuching. For this reason, maybe he is going to be given a chance in the impending forthcoming Sarawak State elections to carry out what he said he intends to do and achieve in the next five years.

But rhetoric alone is not enough. We know in politics, as in a football, a successful team needs a good and quality players.

One person cannot carry the team with him alone, as Liverpool tried with Steven Gerrard, and we all know the outcome.

Adenan needs to pick a team that buys his idea, that accepts his philosophy, that agrees with his ways of doing things, and is in the same wavelength or on the same page with him.

Sarawak needs a leader, but a leader needs a quality, innovative, intelligent, energetic, capable, and motivated team.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen prospective candidates lobbying hard to be our political leaders. All of them claiming to be winnable if selected. This lobbying process is going to continue on until the list of the BN candidates is announced.

These people who want to be our leaders should ask themselves many questions. Why do I need to enter politics? Is politics for me? Do Sarawak and its people require me to be involved in politics? How will my present in politics be of any significant to the progress and development of my state?

Will my absent in politics and from politics be felt by the people? How will I help Chief Minister Adenan Satem to achieve his goal of getting greater autonomy for Sarawak?

We need a team to lead our state and to manage our resources. Otherwise, 50 years from now, as in the past 50, our people will still be asking for the zinc roofs. Otherwise, we remain poor, even though we are rich. –