Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Chasing after RM20 billion in promises

Secara Rawak

Moving forward from the elections, after all the batter on what went wrong and what could have been; Sarawakians should start collecting on the debt owe to them.

Yes, we have a lot owe to us.

The mandate given to the Adenan Satem should not be one taken lightly, the people have chosen and the people have every right to collect.

Every promise, whether stated by Adenan or Najib Razak should be accounted for and tracked.

It is our responsibility to make sure the leaders hold up their end of the bargain.

And though, history will prove this, most promises will never see the light of day. It is still our right to remind those in power, for after elections, most tend to have amnesia.

Around since Samy Vellu

Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi had stated that federal funds promised to Sarawak reached RM20 billion of which RM16 billion is part of a multi-year project to construct the Pan-Borneo highway – a project that had been around since the days Samy Vellu was Works Minister.

These allocations come from a variety of ministries, with education, defense and rural development among the most prominent, and are often part of the 11th Malaysia Plan.  Such promises include the new bridge in Kampong Long Lama in Telang Usan (RM70 million) or the repairs to long houses in Limbang (RM50 million).

Not to be outdone, Prime Minister Najib Razak promised the 341,000 RELA members of Sarawak RM20 million for new uniforms. Similarly, there are promises to military and government personnel, with announcements of a new headquarters (RM 20 million) in Lanang and RKAT homes in Miri (RM94 million).

The state government has also matched many of the religious donations that now reach over an estimated RM50 million, including promises to 110 churches in competitive Ba’kelalan.

And who can forget the promised hospital for Sri Aman, that has remained a promised since 2011, with RM150 million already earmarked by none other than Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Disturbing trend

Yet, this is the state of these things in Sarawak. Mere promises that lose their importance once votes are cast. And it shows a disturbing trend – Sarawak can never achieve autonomy it envisions.

The overly dependence on money from the federal funds will always keep Sarawak within the BN fold. Of the 82 seats, 30 of these can be seen as rural (36 per cent), another 38 as semi-rural (46 per cent) and 14 of these are urban (17 per cent). Sarawakians are voting out of necessity and desperation, voting BN in the rural seats. The umbilical cord to the federal coffers is one that is too valuable to cut off for the rural vote, and this kills off any idea that Sarawak will ever gain true autonomy.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has already made it clear that the 20% oil royalty claim by Sarawak will not be discussed in the near future. Leaving Sarawak with no clear means to truly manage development within its borders.

Leaving Sarawak with imaginary carrots to the tune of RM20 billion. –

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