Friday, June 22, 2012

Sarawak GE 13 | Eyeing the Election Candy?

Proposed 1,480 metres span Batang Sadong Bridge at Kampung Buloh, Sarawak

I've been through the area before. Crossing the Batang Sadong to Kota Samarahan, another river to cross took half a day ...that's very unproductive to residents in both Samarahan and Asajaya for their livelihood. In the Asajaya area lie many kampungs, mostly of Malay farmers and fishermen who virtually (mostly unfairly voted and kept Taib and truant son Sulaiman in Parliament for decades.

People in Asajaya and Sadong actually used to have a language or dialect heritage. I hope they still do though it's probably gone, what with that silly botak Rais Yatem conditioning with RTM Radio and TV. I hear little of it now. It's got a heavy "twang" on the nasal/glottal and half nasal sounds as in the word "orang" the "ng" would twang! :) Some studies have been done on this. James Collins has traced localities and local Malay dialests[#].

Once chatted with a Chinese shopkeeper in his late 30's, apparently disenchanted, because he and family gave up farming orchards and pineapples. On being asked why, they couldn't face some diseases and pests or blight impropoperly or unprofessionaly un addressed.

Those pineapples from Asajaya, Nenas Sarikei, used to be the darling of farming there.

These are simple humble folks whose life used to be the land and the sea. Except for some, others have more or less abandoned traditional farming and gravitated to the bright lights of Kuching, where for the young there aren't bountiful jobs. For those who managed to get to University there are PTPTN loans for both parents and children to shoulder.

Once rode a bike from Serian through Simunjan and saw along the way some swathes of land prepared for oil palm plantations.

But with unethical land distribution, the land is no longer their life sustainer. Most might, though without adequate local studies, have been disenfranchised.

They could well build that bridge joining Asajaya and Kota Samarahan. With losses throught corrupt practices just about a lot of other things could be improved. If they won't build that bridge for Asajaya, people might gravitate to Serian where market for agricultural products for smallholders is restricted compared to Kuching.

Election candy

Just another paper project ?

There is of course an alternative consideration. This much talked about bridge may again not reach fruition.

It may well turn out to be yet another of those projects where a tranche of public money gets handed out to well-connected persons and where promises are made just before elections, for the whole matter to suddenly fizzle out the moment the election is over!

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A point in case is those roads that were ‘about to be started’ just before the State election just last year. The moment the election was over the machinery disappeared, along with the money that the local BN YBs had promised their voters had been allocated to the projects.

And readers have just sent a reminder from Sibu, where we recently queried yet another of Najib’s phantom pre-election promises, the so-called University of Technology. We have shown that plans have progressed no further than a request being made and no money has been put aside.

Yet, it was nevertheless indicated last month that construction would begin at the start of June.

Of course, at that time politicians all believed that the election would be called in June. But, Najib has again lost his nerve and postponed the election.

The projected site for the Sibu Technology University Campus. Not a sign of activity there now the election has been again postponed!

So, no surprise that our Sibu observers have reported that, as we approach the end of June, not a spadeful of soil has been turned on the supposed site for the Sibu University Campus!

More at ...Sarawak Report.

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