Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rural poverty: life in sanctuary?

One of the reasons for the plight of the bird, the Sarawak hornbill, is the loss of thick foliage and tall trees. As it faces extinction, laws and ordinances have been created to protect the affected wildlife. The laws effected determine the preservation and assign wild life to designated areas and preserve them there for survival.

What about rural people in Sarawak or elsewhere in Malaysia? Will they be consigned to preservation as the hornbill and the orangutan?

In the recent Bagan Pinang By Election, you cannot help but be reminded of the plight of rural people.

The Sarawak Head Hunter noted that some of the ways they won Bagan Pinang was giving out groceries like these. That's what Wanita UMNO said. That's well known in most places in Sarawak, too. To urban citizens that's very demeaning but to rural folks, perhaps, it couldn't make things any better or worse.

Which could very well explain some of the less well known reasons for BN's win in Bagan Pinang. Looking at the terrible numbers there, even traditional supporters of PAS ran away. The phenomenon might well mean a kind of hopelessness amongst many rural voters - a win or a loss in Bagan Pinang would not matter. The political stranglehold the ruling parties have lacks consructive meaningful change to them. In any case, in Negeri Sembillan, the ruling party would still be BN - Bagan Pinang won't bring ripples.

But we won't know for sure that they'll not vote for change at the right time, as in a General Election for State or the nation. Surely, poverty is not a sanctuary?

PAS must have known pretty well they could not have won the seat. They did say that, though not in too many words. There might be, too, other seats which will not be really worth fighting for, in a pragmatic sense. The effort would be to highlight the wrongs that must be put right. Which makes lots of sense. If PR wins every seat, that won't be too good for their health, or anyone else's!

On the heels of the formation of Makkal Sakti Party, other new political parties might sprout. Already, there have been rumours in Sarawak. Gabriel Adit was said to form an new party, the Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia. Following that, another is in the offing for Angkatan Anggota Rakyat Bumiputra Sarawak. That abbreviates as "ARABS". Unlike PRM, ARABS is said to be UMNO's doing. It's being promoted by an former bank clerk, Afendi Jeman.

No new party has succeeded in forming in Sarawak. If these manage to beat the odds, they might not be too odd! ROS Sarawak Branch will now be very busy again as even the SUPP needs their help with the disputed Dudong branch in Sibu.

One thing is sure. It looks like the ROS is very busy picking at their laws just so ultimately the people they are meant to protect, stay safe and preserved.

In some thick forests and hills of Sarawak, the hornbills and orangutans will be huddled amongst the foliage, safe in the sanctuary of the laws we made for them. Plus the peanuts, visitors throw to them.


Jong said...

I guess it's all about 'reaching out' and educating the rural folks, to get them prepared and be on the lookout for threats of evil coming their way from agents of BN bullies.

Wasn't what they did at Ai Batang?

Salak said...

Batang Ai is very much like Bagan with a difference - the Bumiputera majority there is non Muslim. The Merdeka Center Youth Survey 2008, notes a difference between the non Muslim and the Muslim youths, that there's more compromise and better aptitude in the former. Despite that, in Batang Ai, the BN did not spare anything they could grab from public property. As communications in Batang Ai is bad, they angkut the military's communications equipment all the way up there. Equipment Bush used in Iraq, like the Advent Communications hardware. I took a picture while I was up there !

The BN could only win in some of these places by complete abuse of the country's resources and systems !

We actually have a case for independent external observers to keep BN honest!

Jong said...

You said it Salak, yes seriously we have a good case for foreign observors at election time to keep checks on BN's bunch of unscrupulous politicians!