Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Sibu To Kick Off Good Governance in Sarawak

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan said yesterday that Pakatan Rakyat is “merely an occupant of the BN development, whether it is in Kedah, Kelantan, Penang or Selangor... the opposition cannot do anything for them and only the BN has the power, voice, capability, allocation and planning to develop the state.”

Barisan Nasional (BN) has over the past 50 years used the “politics of development” to trick voters into voting for BN. However, the trust of the rakyat has been abused to enrich the select few who are entrenched in power. As a result, Malaysia has the largest income disparity ratio in Southeast Asia, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

Sarawak has become the 4th poorest state in Malaysia despite being the richest in terms of natural resources. In 2009, the Sarawak state revenue was RM3.7 billion, the highest in entire Malaysia. Even with only 5% royalty for oil revenue, Sarawak has received RM4.8 billion in oil royalties between 2004 and 2007.

Yet, more than 70 percent of longhouses in Sarawak do not have access to electricity and many do not even have treated pipe water. Until today there are no roads to many Sarawak villages. Many Ibans who work in plantations at an unacceptable day wage rate of RM12 still have to compete with illegal Indonesian workers who work for RM8 per day. This proves that the wealth of Sarawak, Malaysia's richest state is highly concentrated in the hands of Barisan Nasional leaders, pilfered by cronies through patronage and corruption.

Pakatan Rakyat, despite having only governed in several states for 2 years have shown remarkable changes in administration.

Both the Penang and Selangor state governments led by Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng and Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim respectively have performed outstandingly, being the only states which earned praise by the Auditor-General's Report 2008.

In Penang, its cost-cutting measures and prudent ways have resulted in the state's consolidated funds increasing 21.1% (RM178.45 million) from RM847.45 million in 2007 to RM1.02 billion in 2008. The report says the state's expenditure was reduced by RM35.41 million or by 11.1% due to its cost-cutting measures and priority being given to spending on the people or for people-centric programmes.

In fact, the Penang state government has been able to turn a projected deficit of RM 35 million in 2008 budget by BN to a record surplus of RM 88 million. Similarly in 2009, we achieved a surplus of RM 77 million. This was achieved through a competent, accountable and transparent (CAT) government, where open tenders are practised for all government contracts to ensure the lowest prices for the best quality goods and services.

What's more, the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang was able to completely eradicate hardcore poverty in the state, something which the Barisan Nasional government has never been able to do for the past 50 years.

From all the savings that the state gained as a result of competent and good governance, as well as the eradication of corruption and cronyism, we have returned the monies to the rakyat. The Penang state government has given RM100 to every citizen in the state above the age of 60, while the Selangor state government is able to allocate RM120 million annual to provide free water to the rakyat.

We have even institutionalised tens of millions of annual government allocations to missionary, independent, chinese, tamil and religious schools to ensure justice in education for all Malaysians.

In Perak under Pakatan Rakyat, before the state government was forcefully taken over by the BN, we have awarded land titles to all qualified Malaysians regardless of race, a right which they have been denied under BN rule.

The above successes in such a short period of time proves beyond doubt that not only is Pakatan Rakyat able to govern, we are able to manage the state much better than the Barisan Nasional governments. BN accuses us of being “inexperienced” in government, but the only inexperience we have proven is that we have absolutely no experience with corruption and cronyism.

Pakatan Rakyat wants to bring our system of good governance to Sarawak to ensure all Sarawakians will prosper, especially those who are poor and marginalised, and the movement must start with Sibu.
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