Saturday, December 3, 2022

Contemplating about the Concept of the Development of Politics for Development and Progress in Sarawak.

Secara Rawak

In the last 3 decades, development in Sarawak has been defined and determined by the ‘Politics of Development’.

People talked about this concept of development everywhere and much more so in the rural areas.

During elections, the ‘Politics of Development’ is the main message to be conveyed to the people.

One cannot under-estimate the influence of this idea on the BN’s electoral success in the state in the last 3 decades. In fact, it is suffice to say that the ‘Politics of Development’ is instrumental in making Sarawak a fixed-deposit state for the BN.

But in the last state election which was held 2 months ago, there was hardly any reference to this concept at all.

Is the ‘Politics of Development’ still relevant to the BN in the state?

There was no question that the need for development still dominated political processes in the rural areas in the last state election, but other issues – like the ‘Adenan factor’ – had taken over as the topics for discussion and deliberation of the voters in villages and longhouses across the state.

Does this mean that state is already well-developed that the ‘Politics of Development’ is no longer required?

Does this mean that the state has achieved all its rural development targets?

For the rural folks in Sarawak for now, development is still about treated water supplies, electricity connections, road linkages, telecommunication capablities, accesibility to clinic and schools, availability of basic infrastructures and amenites.

Sarawak has all those basic infrastructural facilities and amenities but they are of limited supply. Many areas in rural Sarawak still do not enjoy those facilities.

Physical development provides comfort of life to the people. The physical well-being of the people is as important as their social-economic well-being.

Roads – for example – are critical for the improvement of the quality of life of the people, and they do impact tremendously on the types of livelihood strategies to be adopted by the people.

adenan-satem-cm-sarawakThe contrasting scenes of how the people in the state ‘balik kampung’ (going back to their ancestral villages and longhouses during festivities) and our counterparts in Peninsula Malaysia indicate that there is need for a paradigm shift in the government’s public policy making and priority setting towards Sarawak if the BN is to continue to receive the support of the people.

On Thursday – June 30 2016 – the Prime Minister launched 25 new LRT stations in Kelana Jaya and Ampang. At the same function, the Prime Minister also said that RM8 billion will be allocated to the public transportation integrated system for Klang Valley.

Normally, LRT or ELS are built when the other modes of transport and the road systems have already been well-emplaced. One doesn’t start with constructing the LRT or ELS first and build the roads and highways later.

I have not been to Indo-China countries, but my friend who have been there a few times told me that the roads in those countries are of better quailty than the ones that we have here in Sarawak.

In due respect to our neighbours, there is no question that Malaysia is far-advanced than them. Any statistical figures would support this argument. What we have in our capital city of Kuala Lumpur are incomparable in this part of the world. The Petronas Twin towers, the Sepang Formula 1 Circuit, the LRT, the KL tower, Putra Jaya – just to name a few – they are all world-class.

Malaysia prides itself as one of the economic tigers of Asia, in the same mould as Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. This means that we should have a better standard of living and better infrastructural facilities than our  much less wealthy neighbours.

We have oil, gas, coal, hydro-electric energy, timber, oil palm, rubber, pepper, pineapple, deep sea-ports, regional growth centres. Meaning to say, we are rich.

But anyone who come to this part of the country will say that we are poor because the first things that they see that create their perceptions about the state is the deplorabale conditions of our roads or the lack of them.

We can’t dispute the contributions of the ‘Politics of Development’ to the progress that has been achieved by the state. However, maybe it is worth pondering now about the idea of the ‘Development of Politics’ instead, and build on from there to compliment the idea of ‘devolution,’ and hopefully development in the state could be more progressive, integrated, and efficient. –

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