Chong: S'wakians are not fools; they'll know what to do
COMMENT: State BN leaders like to single out opposition leaders from Malaya as “trouble makers” and “dangerous” with their political culture, but frankly, Umno leaders are more extreme in their religious and racial views.
Now, who are talking about “ketuanan Melayu”, calling for the ban on the use of the word “Allah” by Christians or the seizure of the Malay version of the Bible? The list goes on.
Such words cannot be uttered by the opposition leaders from DAP, PKR and even Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).
Thus, the warning from Wong Soon Koh, senior minister in the state cabinet that Sarawakians should be wary of the rhetoric and propaganda that might come from the opposition parties from Malaya is rather hollow.
Being a Sarawakian, Wong, who is the president of United People’s Party (UPP) said that he does not wish to see that sort of political culture brought to the state.
“I know some are of religious and racial extremism and we do not allow such things to dilute or pollute Sarawak culture,” Wong was quoted as saying.
“I hope all of us will be on the lookout for such propaganda or rhetoric perpetuated by members of the opposition,” he said in Sibu recently.
What Wong said has been said several times before by Chief Minister Adenan Satem.
Wong’s remark is indeed in line with Adenan’s policy of barring opposition leaders from entering Sarawak.
Last month Nurul Izzah Anwar, PKR vice-president and MP for Lembah Pantai, was the latest opposition leader to be barred from conducting political activities in Sarawak.
She was told that the directive to bar her came from the office of the chief minister.
Others who are also barred from entering Sarawak include Rafizi Ramli, PKR strategic director and MP for Pandan; Tian Chua, PKR vice-president and MP for Batu; Zuraida Kamaruddin, PKR women chief and MP for Ampang; Teresa Koh, DAP MP for Seputeh and Tony Pua, DAP MP for Petaling Jaya Utara
It will not be a surprise if more opposition leaders are barred from entering Sarawak for the coming state election.
Now the chief minister is blaming the state opposition parties for pouring cold water on the state government’s efforts to seek greater autonomy.
According to him, such actions by the opposition give the perception that they (opposition) want his government to fail in its discussions with Putrajaya over the devolution of power because the public would come to the conclusion that they never wanted the extra power for Sarawak.
In the end, the people would be the ones who would lose if the discussions do not succeed, he said.
Reacting to Adenan’s allegation, a furious Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen accused the chief minister of reducing himself to gutter politics by making baseless accusations that the opposition were scoffing the fight for autonomy.
“Such an accusation by Adenan is merely to try to cover up his failure in getting the federal BN to agree to more autonomy for Sarawak,” said Chong, who is also the MP for Bandar Kuching and the state assemblyman for Kota Sentosa.
He said that on the contrary, it was the Sarawak DAP which had initiated and set the agenda for the autonomy movement when it launched its “2014 Bintulu Declaration – Towards Equal Partners”.
Chong said that among the things mentioned in the declaration were state autonomy in education, health, internal security and taxation.
“The most important aspect of the autonomy is the autonomy in taxation where we advocate for 20% oil and gas royalties and 50% of all taxes collected in Sarawak to be returned to the state government,” stressed Chong.
The DAP leader also slammed Wong for attempting to pit local parties against Malayan parties.
“This is typical of state BN leaders and their strategy harping on issues of regionalism and racism,” he said, adding that Sarawakians should look at the policies of a party whether it was from Malaya or from Sarawak itself.
As far as opposition parties were concerned, they did not pose any danger to the people in the state.
“Look at the plight of Sarawakians, especially the Dayaks. Who are taking away their native customary rights (NCR) land? Who are destroying their livelihood through timber and logging activities?
“Who have oppressed and suppressed the natives, and who have neglected the welfare of the rural people?
“These problems are created by the local parties and not the opposition parties,” said Chong.
He said state BN leaders were “hypocrites”.
Although they knew that the majority of Umno leaders were racists, they gave them “red carpet” welcome, treated them to sumptuous dinners and even hugged them passionately, he said.
Sarawakians are not blind nor are they stupid.
“When election day comes, they will know who to vote for and they cannot be bought with sweet promises.