Friday, August 28, 2015

Sarawak to push development further into interior

Obviously Sarawak, as a fast developing territory and quite strategically located in the  ASEAN region, must endeavor to adapt to the trend of change in South East Asia towards the formation of the common market, which is getting more integrated with the integration of ASEAN member nations.

Besides, Sarawak is founding state in Malaysia, which is one of original members of ASEAN that has got a good experience in developing a good understanding of the necessity to build a common ASEAN market. For this year, more comprehensive efforts are being made to integrate the market of the original ASEAN member countries and extend it to the new member nations like Kampuchea, Laos and Myanmar.

Hence, Malaysia has been devoting itself towards building a common market, which will serve as the mechanism to create more job opportunities for the people in future.  Obviously, the State or the country has not reached the end of the common struggle towards realizing a shared education system, which could suit the ASEAN market with all its opportunities.

Malaysia, over the years, has gone through the practical experience in overseeing the generation of theoretical efforts in getting regional co-operation in creating more jobs for the people in future.

For this reason, educational efforts must be made continuous, even though the State has many colleges and universities now, as the people must prepare for the future, which is getting more sophisticated in the process of industrialization. The State has narrower economic base because the market is narrow and the workforce, not as big and sophisticated as in Peninsular Malaysia.

The State used to have the top heavy experience where the people were encouraged to  study to get the degree qualifications.   However, it is increasingly obvious that the fields of studies being offered by institutions of higher learning are changing as they have to adapt to the types of development being carried out in the country or spreading out in the region or the world.  

His Excellency the Governor of Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, in his speech during the launching of Multi-Million Ringgit Education Fund of United Peoples’ Party, said every time he had the invitation to give support to a movement to promote education in Sarawak, he felt obliged to do so with the realization of the importance of playing roles in preparing the people for their roles in nation building and cope with continuous changes.

Personally, he is very interested to see how the development of education could give greater emphasis on technical education. The State must make a stride in the development   of education that should be adjusted to the new situation in the process of development more so in industrialization towards the year 2020 and beyond.

Generally, the people must realize that the development of Sarawak will go further into the interior because that is where the resources are.  Perhaps the development will a bit slower because it would mean removing the people from their original place of abode. 

However, the people are quite agile and prepared to take up jobs or business opportunities outside their traditional kampong or longhouses.  In the towns, the Chinese will go to other towns and play greater roles than in the past.

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said generally Sarawakians are quite enterprising. He has seen Sarawakians doing very well even in Africa; no need to say about other places that have become quite well established.  They have the capacity to open up new areas of activities.  They may start small but will become bigger tomorrow because of their ability to sell, create and even manufacture goods. 

He has great respect for the ability of local entrepreneurs to adjust to the prevailing situation in places they work or operate their businesses. They help to create export market outside to enable Sarawak to have wider areas to co-operate in developing new market in synergy with efforts of building ASEAN integration of market for the future.

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib congratulated UPP, which is celebrating its first anniversary, for launching a multi-million Education project, consistent with the importance that the Chinese attached to education.  Hence, any serious political program, particularly among the Chinese, cannot be going without participating in the development of education in the country.

The fact that the party has been able to collect RM30 million is yet another example that local businessmen support efforts for the development of education in the State or country.  The local businessmen, who have donated generously to UPP Education fund, also reflect their confidence in the people, who lead the party, as they have gained vast experience and contributed a lot to the development of education in the State

The President of UPP, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh has in fact been contributing a lot towards education and making Sibu as the centre of education anybody who wants to undertake educational expansion in future can recruit him even as dotting old man.  He is bringing in the tradition to support education to UPP from SUPP.

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said he had to looked up to Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh as a person, with the experience to advise him when he was the Chief Minister in developing educational institution  so that the Government could create effects that benefit  not only Chinese but all races. He has proven himself to be able to do so in Sibu. 

He said continuous efforts must be made to prepare for more managers but greater emphasis must be given to train more people to become technically trained manpower.  He recalled as the Chief Minister he had asked the State Government to give greater emphasis in preparing people for technical education.  Now new schools in Sibu, Miri and Kuching are having elements of trying to prepare people for their roles in industrialization. 

He believed UPP being led by people with experience can contribute a lot to the development of Sarawak in future. UPP has chosen its first project very well.  It has been able to garner the support of all Chinese intellectuals in this venture to play greater roles in preparing Sarawak for industrialization. They   have done very well in the past and there is no reason why they cannot expand the manpower for industries in the form of technically qualified people in future.

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib, during a separate function to launch a business incubator, believed this kind of training would grow in future as there is a need to bring people to one place to get certain kinds of training from their raw stage in order to understand the market and the various personalities needed to be connected together in starting a business. 

 In the old days, it would be difficult to find sense of comradeship as close as it should be in building a higher institution of learning as a result of the training at the lower level following the diversification of the industrial sector. 

He believed the setting of business incubator would be able to contribute meaningfully towards the overall efforts of business development as avenues for introducing management and business practices to young people.

The people, including those who have acquired tertiary education, who want to be involved in doing business, must realize that the business the world has its own characteristic. It is full of competition as well as full of co-operation.

He said the State has been implementing numerous big projects, which require managers having high qualification and good experience. The State is still in the first stage of pioneering its modern development.

He said development must spread out to nooks and corners of the State to give opportunities to all races regardless of their localities. For this reason, the State has set up a number of businesses especially on timber - based industries and estate development as efforts to diversify the base of the economy. This is the philosophy of development. 

He said Sarawak has been able to spread the ramification for the bigger development to equip whatever business sectors or industries with relevant business management to lend to smaller enterprises to help them to reap benefits from development.

Now the people are still talking about huge investment in Samalaju without realizing that they will create opportunities for smaller companies to produce cheaper supplies of raw materials, semi raw materials and semi industrialized products to become the main focus of new businesses in Sarawak.  The people have yet to see spill - over effects from billions worth of investment by 10 big companies in Samalaju that will benefits smaller enterprises.

Basically, a business needs supporting businesses.   For example,   one big business probably needs a few smaller and medium businesses. In this case, a medium business needs smaller ones in order to diversify activities into areas that are not initially able to compete with bigger firms.

Actually a big business gives greater opportunities for smaller enterprises to give people more opportunities in their businesses. The State is in the midst of seeing such phenomenon in and around Samalaju.

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said the timber industry, which has diversified a great deal, has helped to develop people to man not only the export sector  but introduce partners from overseas  mainly in the Far East and eventually Russia and Africa. All the operators started as loggers and operators of transportation to serve the export market.

The State only exports 2% of logs to Europe now. But the State exports expertise like logging firms to AFRICA and slowly participates in the marketing of timber into quite well protected European market.

Sarawak entrepreneurs, who started as loggers, have become international players and get involved more in marketing rather than supply of logs from the hills and forests to the market.  Actually, the State has given birth to a lot of firms, which are diversified in nature.  They have diversified from the old business to greater manufacturing of logs and participation in marketing even outside the country.

The timber operators are penetrating into the society with even the small people getting involved in supplying various materials, construction and training of people to ensure that the total development of industries will be well meant.

The operators have to develop marketing skills further away from the traditional market.   Initially, there were petty timber traders or operators, who were separate from businessmen who provided small services here and there. 

They are taking bigger jobs as contractors, manufacturers of logs from hills now. Generally, they try to diversify market to be able to stand well in any competitions. Now the timber operators are not only doing business in Korea and Taiwan but spreading all the way to Africa, Europe and even the cold Siberia in Russia. 

Generally, the timber industry does not only involve big people but the new ones, who have been trained by the big ones to start their business. These people have to train new people to manage their overseas undertaking besides training some of the local people.  But Initially, there must be a group of small people to be cultivated to continue with the industry nearer to the source or parent companies. 

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said he has seen how small businessmen have grown to become international figures.  They are smarter and surrounded by younger people, who have been trained very well their fields. Besides, there are more people doing smaller jobs with greater harnessing of manpower as proof that the industry is building more people to do a lot of smaller activities because of the growth of the industry and the diversification of activities. 

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said undoubtedly, Sarawak t is quite a different place from what he first saw more than 30 years ago.  Then it was sufficient to talk about timber men. But now there are other things to do to develop Sarawak.  The people have their own vision of what they can do to expand their business not only inside but abroad. 

Generally, the varieties of businesses that have come up grow very fast. They require more people to man their expanding activities. Hence, any efforts to train people, not only in technical but also in management lines at various levels are greatly welcomed as the State moves forward in higher gears in development. Obviously, there are great opportunities for young people and the institutions of learning to play in the further development of Sarawak for the future.  

Sarawak Monitor
28 August 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Greatness of society of Anak Sarawak

All Malaysians in Sarawak, regardless of whether they are Muslims or non Muslims or people of other faiths are warming up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which is being celebrated like no other in the country. Actually, the people are already having the festive mood with the month of Ramadhan (or the fasting month) entering the fourth week. Understandably, Gawai Dayak, is quite rural in coverage while the Chinese New Year, urban in character; but Hari Raya Aidilfitri is both urban and rural in coverage.

Besides, as a consequence of multi-racial marriages, the celebration is cutting across all racial, cultural and religious barriers to make Hari Raya Aidilfitri truly a celebration for all Malaysians. However, the celebration also serves as reminder to Anak Sarawak Rakyat Malaysia that Sarawak, for a long period of time, has been able to develop and progress, more so since the midst 80s, to what it is today due to the ability of the people, regardless of differences in ethnicities, religious beliefs and other backgrounds to work together and live in peace and harmony with each other.

Undoubtedly, this is the greatness of the society that Anak Sarawak Rakyat zealously desire to preserve as the State and country move forward to become a developed nation with high income economy by the year 2020.  

Obviously, it is incumbent upon the people, the younger generations in particular to preserve the greatness of the society to remain cohesive. They must fight against those with individual political agenda based more on debates and less on performances. In this regard, they must endeavor to upgrade themselves to become more innovative and knowledge oriented to achieve the desired goal. 

The common goal must necessary be to ensure that Sarawak remains multi-racial and multi-cultural with people being reconciled to the fact that no single community can represent the majority in Sarawak. No single races whether they are Chinese, Malays, Ibans, Bidayuhs, Orang Ulu can claim to be in the majority or form the majority. 

The majority can only be produced by the readiness of the people, comprising of diverse ethnics and religious groups and other diverse backgrounds to learn to agree on basic issues that affect their livelihood. 

Hence, the people must continue to agree to work together to ensure that the hopes and expectations of the younger generations must be implemented. Otherwise, the policy will become the debating points among them, which will be a sad day for Sarawak. 

In this regards, the people must be focused on inculcating the sense of belonging among the people in multi-racial and multi-cultural society among the people. It can be achieved by encouraging excellence rather than by having the consideration for the color of skins, ethnic origins, religious beliefs or any other peculiarities in the services for the people, state and country. 

Undoubtedly, the demand of working for a cohesive society has become more urgent now as it begins to suffer the effects of social disintegration.  There are already signs of breakup of the extended family into nucleus family due to inclinations of the second generation of families to move into the housing schemes or estates.  

Besides, the process of socialization, which has helped to create a lot of cohesiveness in the society, has also become weakened. The people have to work for an environment to keep the people revolving around the local Adat and the old process of interaction and establishing close link and friendship among them. This needs time, perhaps one generation, but the people must to do it in order to uphold the greatness of the society.  

Arguably, prosperity is not the best helper in the task to create a cohesive society as the people are getting more mobile and have less time for interaction among them.  Notably, the younger people are getting individualistic; it is very difficult to make them good comrades or partners in life. The increase in the rates of divorces speaks volume of this. 

For this reason, the people must think consciously of how to transform the economy from the medium income to high income economy as outlined in the New Economic Model. The transformation requires at least one third of the population of Sarawak that constitutes the work force to have tertiary education; the State has about 20 to 25% today. 

Fortunately, the State has been able to catch up quite nicely because of the government’s initiative to hasten the pace of setting up UNIMAS and university campuses like UiTM,  Universiti Pertanian, Swineburne and Curtin, University Technology Sibu and a number of branches of renowned colleges.  

Sarawak may no longer be in the backwater of development or considered a poor and backward State as it used to be until the middle of the 80s. Then Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, (now Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Governor of Sarawak), in one of his early interviews, said when he first came back to Sarawak on March 26, 1981, he realized that the development of the economy had to go through a comprehensive change that should cover the aspects of politics, social and economy; otherwise, it would remain at standstill.  

Then the structure of the population of only about 1.5 million, living in more than 5,000 small settlements spreading over a wide area of more than 125,000 square KMs, could not constitute a viable big market for development.

The demographic pattern of Sarawak, with the rate of poverty of about 60% and unemployment among the people especially youth in villages and longhouses very high, was about 80% rural and 20% urban.

The situation gave rise to an explosive feeling of dissatisfaction against the government, which was accused of pursuing politics of favoritism. Consequently, instigating racial and communal feelings was the best weapon to win support, though a highly divisive support, as in the State elections of 1970, 1974 and 1978. Hence, the new way forward must necessarily be to mobilize the people and orientate them towards development.

The Government, being led by Datuk Patinggi Abdul Taib, had to develop the infrastructure, as a matter of urgency, in order to overcome the acute problems of transportation in developing the economy. The State government had to spend RM3 billion every year for the purpose. 

The State government had to spend more money from the State’s coffer than the Federal Government to speed up the development of roads, bridges and other components of the infrastructure.  As the development of infrastructure was of paramount important, it did not really matter whether the Federal of State governments had to spend more money for it. 

Besides, there was an urgent need to form a viable size community of about 5,000 people to support the development of a modern economy that could create good multiplier effects on an area.  Then there were about 60% of the 5,000 settlements comprising of traditional villages and longhouses, each had about 30 families only and they were distant apart anything from three to 30KMs.

The government being led by Datuk Patinggi Abdul Taib made politics of development as the philosophy of development with the primary objective to bring the people together regardless of whether they were Malays, Iban, Chinese, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and others to share a common vision to transform the economy.  It was the only way to bring about a more organized and proper reshuffling of the population in Sarawak.

Generally, the people accepted politics of development as not a slogan. It was making politics substantial to the demands of development. The politics of development dictates in the people the kind of attitude that places demands of development above own politics as long as they do not conflict with the prospects of survival.  

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib said he had been pursuing this line of politics in the form of the politics of development because the other forms of politics, with a lot of rhetoric or worse empty talks, do not bring any benefits, development benefits in particular to the people, state and country.  Efforts must be made to reduce politicking among the people because, in any political fights, it is the people who get confused the most, their line of thinking and attitude will be distracted.
Admittedly, there are still a lot more work to be done to ensure that Sarawak will remain in the mainstream of development and become a state in the developed nation by the year 2020 and beyond.  

In this respect, the people, the new generation in particular must work together in creating the environment for them to interact and establish close links among them.  Obviously, this is getting more difficult now as the people begin to suffer the effects of social disintegration and sometimes dramatic changes in life. 

Undoubtedly, many initiatives have been taken to develop the heavy and small industries with the development of SCORE and the modernization of the agricultural sector with the view to climb up the values change by processing food in the most advanced way at Tanjung Manis Halal hub. 

The development of Halal hub will emphasize on producing organic food using bio-tech to ensure that they will be health friendly and be devoid of chemical for export. The hub is projected to earn an annual income of RM5 billion within the next five to seven years. 

Clearly, the work to transform Sarawak to become a high income economy is magnanimous.  Obviously, the bulk of the work will be done by younger generation, who must be performance oriented; they must endeavor to upgrade themselves to become knowledge oriented and be more innovative and productive in whatever they do in the services of the people, state and country.  

More importantly, they must be willing to shoulder a heavier responsibility in preserving Sarawak as a peaceful and harmonious state in spite of the fact that it comprises about 30 ethnic groups, each with their own religious beliefs, customs and traditions. The people must remain reconciled to the fact that they do not represent the majority unless they remain united on issues that affect their livelihood. 

Undoubtedly, the State has laid a strong foundation to remain a multi-racial and multi-cultural State but the task ahead will be heavier with continued and sometimes very robust attempts by outsiders to dissuade the people with strong political persuasions away from the desired goals. 

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the people to remain focused on preserving a multi-racial and multi-cultural society so that they can continue to work and live harmoniously together towards 2020 and beyond. It is up to us to decide on our own future. 

In this regards, the people must all be grateful to God the Almighty for giving us the occasion to reflect on our performance with the primary objective to improve on it. The State has laid a strong foundation for the people to be involved in the transformation of the economy from the middle to high income economy.  

Admittedly, it will be complex process but with the experience of more than 50 years of developing the economy and a comprehensive program that has been prepared for the transformation, Sarawak should be able to achieve of the goals of becoming a developed state by the year 2020.

Generally, the people have been able to command courage and confidence to move forward towards the year 2020 and beyond.  Besides, they have clear vision and aspiration for the purpose. More importantly, they remain steadfast with the struggle of nation building and do not take defeat as an option. 

Rightly, the auspicious occasion of Hari Raya Aidilfitri should also remind the people of their obligation to preserve Sarawak as an attractive investment destination  as a way to push the level of development higher in order create more opportunities for them, the new generation in particular to earn higher incomes that can be equated with those in developed countries towards the year 2030.

Sarawak Monitor
3 August 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The significance of July 22 to Sarawak

July 22 may not be the Independent Day for Sarawak per se but its significance by no means could be something to be overlooked as in the past out of the deference of some quarters in the Federal capital for August 31 to be the only historical day for the Nation.  However, confusion started to reign in with insistence on their part to benchmark the anniversary of Merdeka on August 31, 1957, the date of the independent of the Federation of Malaya; but Malaya is not Malaysia.

Thanks to the Prime Minister, Dato Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who considered that Malaysia Day is no less significance than Merdeka Day for Sarawak and Sabah, the founding members of the Federation, which together form about 2/3 of the Nation.  Besides, they have also decided to do away with the anniversary celebration as it is the cause of confusion among the people in the country.

The Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Adenan Haji Satem, in his speech during a special gathering to commemorate the day, said Sarawak is celebrating July 22 as the occasion that the State was given self – government by the British Colonial Government, which means that Anak Sarawak were given the power to govern themselves after more than 100 years of rule by Brookes family and the British Colonial Administration.

It was on July 22 that members of the first State Cabinet were sworn in before the then Governor Sir Alexander Waddell. The members led by Stephen Kalong Ningkan, as the Chief Minister, were James Wong Kim Min, Teo Kui Seng, Pengiran Hipni Awang Anu, Abdul Taib bin Mahmud and Dunstan Endawie Enchana and three ex- officio – Shaw, Pike and Hayward. That was the first Sarawak Cabinet. 

He warmly welcomed Abdul Taib, now Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Seventh Governor of Sarawak, who is the last of his generation who is still around. Perhaps, some people, who are familiar with the history of Sarawak, can still remember how things were more than 50 years ago after 100 years of rule by the Brookes family. 

Sarawak Head of State Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud (fifth right) signing a plaque commemorating Sarawak’s independence at the vicinity of the State Legislative Assembly Building (DUN) on July 22, 2015. (Photo: Rakan Sarawak)

This was the symbolism that the Anak Sarawak were recognized as the people, who could govern themselves.   In their first meeting, after the swearing in ceremony, they agreed to support the formation of Malaysia and would work hard to make Sarawak a party to it.  They agreed to be on board so that Malaysia could come into being on 31 August, 1963.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan said the State Government would consider the request to make the commemoration of July 22 a public holiday favorably. He would make the decision on this matter before the end of the year. It would be considered favorably as it is to commemorate history or freedom of the people and not just an excuse to have another holiday as Sarawak has already had many kinds of holiday.  

He said it is never too late to celebrate the significant day and for Anak Sarawak to be proud of themselves.  Sarawak has come of age and Anak Sarawak, Warganegara Malaysia are no longer ignorant; they may still be happy go lucky but are also responsible people. They have shown that they can do things on their own without being told by somebody.  

Datuk Patinggi Adenan, who spoke eloquently, appearing to have facts on his figure tips, about the significance of July 22 to Sarawak, said over and above, the State would insist on a full autonomy based on the 18- point agreement by which the people of Sarawak agreed to be a party to formation of Malaysia.

He said the State Government is negotiating with the Federal Government for more powers like those relating to land transport, land transfers and other things to be handed back to Sarawak.  In this regards, the Federal and State Government have jointly set up committee, which is being chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government to detail out certain federal powers that could be given back to the State, which is also the executive authority to implement them locally.  The State Secretary, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Mohamad Morshidi Ghani is a member of the committee.  The people can be rest assured that such things are being taken care of.

He pledged that the State government would continue to champion the welfare and interests of Sarawak in the Federation. It will be judicious in exercising powers that have been vested on the State as enshrined in the Constitution of Malaysia.  The State will sing the State Anthem “Ibu Pertiwiku” and the National Anthem “Negara Ku” together just like in this historical event    or in any official functions.

He said the State government has already made it a point to sing both the National and State anthems together because the loyalty of the people is both to the Federation of Malaysia and Sarawak; there is no conflict between the two.  

Generally, the people, comprising about 30 ethnic groups with diverse religious beliefs and backgrounds are proud of Sarawak as their state and what they have been able to achieve during the last 53 years as an autonomous State in the Federation.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan, an avid reader with strong love for history, said the State government is negotiating with the Federal Government not only over the autonomous status but the acquisition of more Federal powers to be vested to the State under the synonym of evolution of power.

He said the State government is doing so based on the fact that Sarawak is not just a State within the Federation but a founding State of the Federation. Besides, it takes cognizance of the ground swell of opinions for Sarawak to keep autonomy over localized matters.

Sarawak was a party to the formation of Malaysia, which was clearly stated in the Cobbold Commission Report as follow “Malaysia shall be the Federation of equals, not domination by Kuala Lumpur or any other parties”.

He said the State did not cede as a British Colony controlled by London just to be controlled by another power. Therefore, the State must insist on the autonomy which will serve two purposes. The State is sure that defense, foreign affairs and security are being taken care of by the Federal Government.  But localized matters like finance must be autonomous; that is the policy.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan said while the State government sympathizes with the sentiment of Sarawak for Sarawakians, it would not tolerate the campaign of seceding from the Federation. The people were in Malaysia once; they are in Malaysia now and will be in Malaysia forever. 

The State government agrees with the sentiment of Sarawak for Sarawakians.  However, it does not agree to cessation from the Federation.  The State government will not entertain such idea and the claim for referendum as a way of getting it. 

He said firmly that the State government does not approve such form of action but believes in the full autonomy under the constitution; the State government believes in the evolution of power to the State. It is negotiating this evolution of power with the Federal Government.

Sarawak attained the status of an Independent State, as declared by the first Chief Minister of Sarawak, Stephen Kalong Ningkan on 16 September, 1963. Then the people could truly say that they are people of an Independent State within the Federation of Malaysia.

Since 16 September 1963, Sarawak has the Governor, State Cabinet and a democratic system of government.  That is what Sarawak is celebrating today.  The people of Sarawak have become one people with dignity, no more the subjects of some colonial powers.  The same status therefore means we are full citizens, instead of just being the subject people.

Prior to 16 September 1963 or during the Colonial time, if the people had passports they were not described as citizens of any country; they were described as the British subjects, which meant  they were under somebody else; they were being subjected by somebody else.   

The first Governor, Abang Haji Openg bin Abang Haji Sapiee was sworn in on the morning 15 September, 1963 the day before the last Colonial Governor, Sir Alexander Waddell left Sarawak.  The stretch of Sungei Sarawak with Pangkalan Batu at the centre has witnessed numerous historic events in the State. Actually, the Astana, Fort Magherita, the old Court house, the Central Padang and other historical buildings defined the history of Sarawak.

This is the status symbol of being Independent people within Malaysia. The State has been developing 10 or 20 times over when compared with what it was more than 50 years ago. It cannot be denied that Malaysia has given Anak Sarawak all these benefits over the years after Independent.   But it may not be enough as expected today but Malaysia is one country in trying to improve everyone.  
He said Sarawak celebrated the centenary of the Brookes rule, which had been holding the State in trust for the people from 1841 to 1941, with Kuching as the centre of the celebration, on September 1941. However, it was just three months before the State surrendered to the conquering Japanese army during the Second World War.  

The Brookes family declared that for the last 100 years they had been holding Sarawak in trust for the people of Sarawak, who would eventually rule themselves.  Undoubtedly, they made efforts to guide the people to achieve the goal.    The people were given a bit education and being informed of the functions and responsibilities and privileges of self- government. That was the meaning of the cardinal principal.

Unfortunately, the goal could never be realized because the Japanese invaded Sarawak and imposed strict military rule for three and half years during the Second World War.     The people suffered and rendered miserable and wretched under the Japanese rule. The Commonwealth forces led by the Australian Army came to liberate Sarawak from the Japanese towards the end of the war.    

The people of Sarawak, after the liberation, still nurtured the hope that the promise made by the Brookes family in 1941 would slowly be fulfilled.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.  The Brookes family retracted on the promise.  They did not stick to the promise on what they would undertake to do.  Instead, they ceded Sarawak as a colony to Great Britain in 1946. The decision brought many political differences and political controversies among the local people.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan recalled, after years went by, the British Government under Harold MacMillan declared the so-called East of Suez policy for Britain to withdraw its presence from East of Suez from 1957. One of the outcomes of the East of Suez policy was to prepare Sarawak for Independence.

Then the Colonial Governor Sir Anthony Abell was instructed to initiate the proceedings of the self-government like the formation of political parties. In the meantime, there was a proposal from the then Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj to bring together Singapore, North Borneo, Brunei, Sarawak and Malaya to form a new Federation.

However, there must be a plebiscite or the assessment of wishes of the people of Sarawak towards the formation of the new Federation. The British Colonial Supreme Council, true to the promise, amended the constitution to enable Sarawak to become a self-governing State, which means the people rule themselves. That came into being on 22 July, 1963.

The main task of the first Cabinet was to prepare Sarawak to become a party to the formation of Malaysia on August 31, 1963. Unfortunately, the formation of Malaysia had to be postponed by another two weeks according to the Maphilindo Accord due to objection of President Sukarno of Indonesia and President Macapagal of the Philippines. That was why the formation of Malaysia was declared on 16 September, 1963.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan said his government would endeavor to fulfill the hope of the people the best it could provided the people would keep on supporting the Government so that it could have big voice, a resonant voice to say that the people in Sarawak are behind the request for more autonomy to be given by the Federal Government.

He said Anak Sarawak Rakyat Malaysia hope to achieve bigger things in the process of development especially with the implementation of Pan Borneo Highway, which will open up more areas of the State for development.

The Pan Borneo Highway is the single most expensive engineering project, a truly mammoth project in the whole history of Sarawak. The project, once completed in the next five or six years, will make a great impact on the prosperity of Sarawak on the economy of this country as a whole just like the North South Highway, which gives huge economic impact in West Malaysia.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan said Anak Sarawak want to have in the State what the people in Peninsular Malaysia have already had. There is no reason for Sarawak to continue to be left behind; they don’t want to be left behind.  Of course, they can wait a bit but not for another 50 years.  They are getting impatient.  Hidup Sarawak, Hidup Malaysia. 

Sarawak Monitor
30 July 2015


Monday, June 22, 2015

Chinese should reject DAP’s rhetoric,blatant allegations and negativism

With the total defeat of SUPP, which used to be a dominant Chinese –based political party, in the April 2011 State Elections, the Chinese community now has only two out of 58 elected representatives in the Government. It managed to retain Bawang Assan and Senadin with the support of Bumiputra voters only by the skin of their teeth.

In spite of the defeat, the leaders continue to fight tooth and nail against each other to the benefits of DAP, which used to have only five or six elected representatives in the opposition bench to 12 now.

SUPP’s candidates, made up of the party big wigs led by the President Datuk Patinggi Dr. George Chan (Piasau), Secretary- General Professor Dr. Sim Kui Hian (Pending), Treasurer General David Teng (Repok) and others all dropped like paper pins against unknown politicians being nominated by DAP against them. 

Obviously, the Chinese community, out of the doing of members, is experiencing the politics of under representation in the government. They are indulging in a very unhealthy trend of politics of political and racial polarization in a multi-racial and multi-religious society like Sarawak.  They are creating a situation where an overwhelming majority of them support the opposition while the majority of Bumiputeras support the Government. 

Given the existing political framework, yelling at the top of their voices as members of the opposition, they do not solve problems. They may look good in newspapers or at a mass rally, but they do not bring any results.

Obviously, it is important for the Chinese community to recognise that it would be more effective to be in the Government as the task of building a better future is the collective responsibility of every citizen.

It must begin with positive thinking and correct attitude. They must be prepared not just to bemoan problems, being antagonistic and confrontational but be more cooperative with the other communities to solve their problems.

Generally, members of the Chinese community have high ideals and targets to such an extent they become unrealistic. The targets could not be achieved due to lack of fundamental understanding and unity of purpose. They blame others for their failures.  

Given the existing political framework, it is one thing not to know what are the problems facing the Chinese community, it is another not to have looked at the problems in the correct perspective.

The Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, in his winding speech on the debate of the Governor of Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud’s opening speech during the last sitting of the State Legislative Assembly, said as a Cabinet Minister, he considered it appropriate for him to appeal to Chinese to change their attitude, political approach and ways they manage their affairs given the existing political framework.

He said they should take the opportunity to work with the Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Haji Satem, with his emphasis on efficiency, integrity and good governance, in order to keep pace with his decisiveness of action and admirable courage to imbue a greater sense of belonging into the people of different races and move with greater unity to the task of building a more united Sarawak and a better future.

Dato Sri Wong said Datuk Patinggi Adenan has proven himself to be very decisive in addressing any political and economic issues. He likes his administration to be inclusive, which means all the communities should be part of the Government. He has been particularly vocal in so far as the Chinese community is concerned as he really wants the community to be represented in his administration.

He said Datuk Patinggi Adenan is ever willing to listen to grievances and address issues affecting them. His efforts should be lauded so that no one community would be left out of his Government.  The Chinese community should take stock, change the political attitude and approach and work with him.

They should help him to create an environment more conducive for the greater unity and solidarity for the people in Sarawak.  With his emphasis on efficiency, accountability and integrity, the Chinese can ask for no better time than now to start working with him.

He regretted that the polarization of political parties by claiming Chinese interests has led to a wide dissipation of Chinese voice. The parties concerned also lack the communication in the search for basic denominators for concerted efforts for the community.  There has been an inadequate common voice for the community.

For example, too often, the Chinese community talks a great deal about issues they have to face but they are indisposed by political apathy, which used to be further aggravated by negative attitude in registering protests instead of positive participation.

Dato Sri Wong said he shared a view that Chinese community has been likened to a boat with under-powered motor tossing about in the high seas.  Therefore, the members should concentrate on the paramount of the politics of under representation in the mainstream of politics.

He believed members of the Chinese community must do some fundamental re-thinking in their efforts to forge a consensus on political issues and a common direction. The present practice of fragmenting Chinese political support among DAP, UPP and SUPP is doing nothing good for the Chinese community. Even DAP with a dozen representatives carrying the so-call Chinese voice has not done anything to exert any perceptible influence on the Government.

He also believed any objective analysis would conclude that a Chinese-based opposition would only lead to further erosion of the community’s position of political representation in the Government.  

Obviously, the Chinese community needs a real political break-through, which requires political wisdom and courage to change. They can face the future either positively or negatively or constructively or destructively.

They can choose to approach challenges by viewing each other positively or adopt a negative attitude by deliberately misinterpreting and opposing anything that come along the way to arouse emotions of the people.

Dato Sri Wong said the Chinese community must have the foresight to recognize the necessity to be represented in the Government and participate in the process of development to benefit from the economic and socio-political opportunities that will come up more and more.

They must appreciate that the development of the economy and socio-political future cannot be gambled away by allowing themselves to be fooled by mere rhetoric, slogan-shouting, empty promises, blatant allegations and negativism.

He believed the Chinese can achieve much by having a good representation in Government to enable them to participate in the  transformation of  opportunities into results and benefits for all communities."

The Chinese community in the Government, just like in a family, could use the combined resources and common spirit to overcome crises, in striving for the common goals.  They should all join hands together to become united and strong in striving for a shared vision of the community. The choice before the Chinese community is clear but daunting one namely to unite the members to join the mainstream politics in the Government.  

Sarawak Monitor
22 June 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Federal Departments, agencies are also answerable to State

The Federal Departments and agencies, which believe they do not have to report to the State Government and only to their headquarters in Putra Jaya have been told in no uncertain terms by the Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Adenan Haji Satem   that they are here to serve Sarawak; the people and State Government are their clients. 

 If the people and the State government are not happy with their services, they have the right to complaint the agencies concerned to their big bosses in Kuala Lumpur. In other words, if the State is not happy with their services, it can go on over them to improve such services.

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Adenan Haji Satem, in his winding speech on the debate on the opening speech of the Governor of Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud during the last sitting of the State Legislative Assembly, said the Federal Departments and agencies are duty bound to do what the people and the State Government want them to do.

In a straight talking, which is his trademark, the Chief Minister said: “don’t tell me you only report to your bosses in KL, you don’t report to State Government.”

Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Haji Satem regretted that some Federal Departments have been found to be inactive in their services to the State. Hence, he has requested the State Secretary to write to Chief Secretary to the Government to complaint about the non-performance of some Federal departments in Sarawak.

For example, the fact that the local people alerted him about the Bajau, Suluk and other fishermen from the Philippines, squatting in Miri or Lutong, shows that the enforcement personnel of the Immigration and the Maritime departments have not been doing their jobs well.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan had to convene a meeting with representatives of the departments concerned and direct them to get rid of the illegal immigrants. The State does not want to become another Sabah. The problem of illegal immigrants must be nipped in the bud, before it becomes worse and unsolvable; the State must take early action.   After a series of raids, which resulted in the arrests of more than 200 people, some decided to come out and go back voluntarily. 

He said the State Government has adopted a policy of assisting them to go back to their places of origins as the State is not interested to push whatever punishments on them as, for example, sending them to prison means spending a lot of money to feed them.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan viewed the presence of illegal immigrants very seriously because they could cause serious social and security problems in the State. If left unchecked, the problem illegal immigrants can affect the security and sovereignty of State. 

The increases in the number of PATI ( Pendatang Tanpa Izin or illegal immigrants)  were due to weak enforcements by the departments and agencies concerned. . The illegal immigrants became bolder in encroaching into the State and territorial waters to exploit local business opportunities and rob the State of the precious resources.

He said the recent incidence involving illegal fishing in Miri was due to the abundance of fish in the State’s territorial waters. As a result, the livelihood of the local fishermen was badly affected. They raised numerous complaints to the relevant authorities. Unfortunately, little actions were taken to necessitate them to request him to step in to resolve the issue.

He said some PATI were known to be involved in smuggling illegal weapons.  Generally, their health condition was a concerned because they came in without being screened.  Some of them had contagious diseases like tuberculosis (TB), which could pose serious health risk to the local people.

He said the State Government would not compromise on issues that could affect the State’s security and sovereignty. Therefore all relevant enforcement agencies have been directed to be firm and bold in rounding up all illegal immigrants.  Besides, stern actions must be taken to penalize employers, who are hiring and harboring illegal immigrants. 

Datuk Patinggi Adenan, who is also the Minister of Resource Planning and Environment, offered to help parties in NCR land disputes to settle their cases out of Court.  The State Government is even prepared to give land to Natives under Section 7 or Section 6 of the Land Code. But the Government will not tolerate ludicrous land claims that extend from sunrise to sunset.   IN other words, they own the whole place as far as the horizon is concerned.

He said if they are reasonable and compromising, the State government can assist the parties involved to settle their cases amicably out of court. Otherwise, the cases will drag on for years. This problem of land dispute, which is one of the biggest, requires the State government to have more time to settle them. 

He regretted, for example, that land disputes between plantation owners and claimants of NCR lands had become recurring issues that had dragged the Government to Court as a party accused of being responsible.  There are a total of 124 reports on land disputes at various stages of Court processes in Land and Survey Department.

The problem, if left unchecked, will be a constant drain on everybody’s time. Worse it gives fodder to the detractors to accuse the Government of a slew of wrongdoings from land grab to the rape of the countryside.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan reaffirmed the commitment of the State Government to manage, protect and conserve the forest with the belief that it is the right thing to do regardless of whether it is being attacked by foreign NGOs and other parties or not. 

The State, with a long history of conserving the environment, is tackling the problems at all levels ranging from policy, legislation, process and procedures, systems and enforcement. The State government, with the aspiration to become a leading player in sustainable forest management, is making serious efforts to transform the image and reputation of the forestry sector and timber industries. 

 In fact, the timber industry is one of the economic sectors that have contributed tremendously to the State’s economy for the past few decades. The timber sector, occupying the fourth position in terms of export after LNG, petroleum and palm oil, will continue to grow to ensure that the state remains an important player in the international tropical timber and timber products.

The State’s policy has been very clear in respect to sustainable forest management.  The policy will continue to be followed with effective implementation and strong enforcement in the overall efforts to manage and protect the forests to ensure that they remain sustainable for future generation.

The State government is making all out to eliminate illegal loggings, which have serious implications on the environment, revenue and image of Sarawak in the world on how the forest is being managed. The efforts in eliminating illegal loggings will be enhanced and intensified until the activities are completely wiped out in the State.

A total of 46,215 cubic meter of illegal logs worth aboutRM14 million and royalty, about RM3 million were seized in 2014. That was just the beginning of efforts, which the opposition should support rather than belittling the efforts to eliminate illegal logging.

There are 123 active sawmills while 42 are non-operative.  There are suspected to rely on the supply of illegal logs to support operation. The Government will no longer approve new sawmills to be setup within the timber concession areas.

Some of the illegal loggers, before actions have been taken against illegal logging activities, believed they could do whatever they wanted. They were just timber thieves. Then the enforcement by Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation were very weak. 

He told 2,000 enforcement officers to their face that if illegal logging activities happened in their areas, without them knowing about the activities, he would get MACC to investigate them. He had to put the fear of God into them.

He said the activities of illegal logging are scandalous to such an extent that even national parks have been intruded into.  He would not tolerate anymore nonsense and intensified efforts would be made to hunt down the culprits.

He said quite a number of sawmills have closed down because there are no more timber to be stolen.  It was ridiculous to find sawmills being set up in jungle even though they had no concession areas. Obviously, they expect people to steal timber for their operations. Admittedly, more works had to be done to stop or at least minimize these scourge of illegal felling of trees.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan said the seized timber being taken custody by Hardwood, a subsidiary of Sarawak Forestry Corporation, would be used by Hardwood for its processing plants; there is no more hanky panky in the business. Undoubtedly, the message that the State government is serious about fighting illegal loggings has been conveyed to perpetrators. 

The State government has been receiving tips and reports from the people about suspected cases of illegal loggings in their areas to enable enforcement officers to investigate them.  
They did not report such activities before because no actions had ever been taken by the relevant agencies on their reports.

Datuk Patinggi Adenan said the Forestry Ordinance, which has been amended, makes the burden of proof on a person, found in his possession timber, which are still unmarked and with no royalty being paid, that he has got it illegally. It is not for the prosecution to prove that he has got the timber illegally.

The new provision makes it more difficult for the suspected timber thieves to escape. Sometimes lorry drivers, when being apprehended carrying illegal timber would just say they had been directed by the “towkay” to deliver them to certain sawmills.

 The Enforcement officers, with the amended Ordinance, will be able to charge such drivers and make them sing until they reveal who the “towkays” are.  Basically, lorry drivers, who are suspected of transporting illegal logs, will be investigated and apprehended. If there are cases against them they will be charged in court under the amended Ordinance.    

He said the penalty, which used to be quite low for the offence, has increased including imprisonment. However, the crux of the matter lies with the enforcement; if the enforcement is weak, the law means nothing. The best deterrent is the certainty of being caught.

He said the introduction of Forest Bill 2015 during the April 2015 sitting of the State Legislative Assembly, manifested the State Government’s resolute commitment to strengthen forest management. It took into account the environment and welfare of the local community. The implementation of the law would help the State to combat and eliminate illegal logging and improve its image in the world.

He regretted that the State’s management of the forest has become the victim to criticisms by foreign NGOs.  They have been quite successful in giving Sarawak a bad name internationally.

But he expected them, with the policy change, to stop making such unfair criticisms. If they are truly concerned with the forest, they should stop making such criticisms and instead come forward to help the State with better ideas on environment conservation for the future. 

However, Datuk Patinggi Adenan is not interested with Bruno Manser Fond because its agenda is not the State’s forests. Its agenda is a suspect and of no interests to the State. He is more interested in NGOs whose real concern is preservation of forest.

Admittedly, the enforcement officers, in carrying out raids also found out legal timber being transported from one area to another area. The lorries suspected of being involved in transporting of illegal timber, have proper document with them. Generally, rampant timber thefts happen when the prices of timber are high. When the prices are down, the thefts will be minimal.

Sarawak Monitor
17 June 2015