May 17, 2010
The New Parliamentary Representative of Sibu - YB Wong Ho Leng
On 16th May the by - election ended in a surprising way - in spite of people's expectations and prediction (gamblers included) - Wong Ho Leng won by about 400 votes. Even some of the DAP supporters thought that BN was going to win by a handsome majority of 2000 votes.
The turn out was "disappointing" according to the Chairman of SPR. (Election Commission)
Hopefully Sibu will see a new kind of political scenario after a long period of SUPP rule which promised development within coalition. Firstly the path of this new YB will not be smooth. Secondly the spirit of the Sibu people must be calm and still to withstand the aftermath of the storm.
But here's a checklist of some of the problems I have gathered for you if you do not know the problems of the multi-racial component of Sibu:
1. Since 1960's Penasu residents buy their own electric generators and bottled mineral water. Other West Malaysians are faring better. Many villages have electricity and water supply since 1970's.
2. Long houses in Sg. Apong for example - roads have never been tar sealed.(compare this with Queensway in Sibu was built by our Foochow forefathers within three months using changkuls and bungkis from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. under the Japanese. And under Malaysia Boleh - 5KM road can be tar sealed within l week. Think Upper Lanang in the 1990's )
3. Incomes of the longhouse dwellers - for example - depends on catching of crabs (one week about 200 ringgit for both husband and wife);many town dwellers work in coffee shops and food outlets or are hawkers. Many still gather mee din for a living (selling them in hawkers' centre in Sibu)
4. Flood - mitigation has been promised for 20 years. Belian Road in Sibu is underwater almost every day.
5. Shipping - Sibu used to be a deep sea port. Now with low bridges ocean going ships cannot come to Sibu. Rajang Port Authority may be a thing of the past.Tanjong Mani/Manis is the new Port.
6. Ship building - this industry was the pride of Sibu - now the brains behind the industry may have to move elsewhere before the Rajang is facing very bad sedimentation due to deforestation.
7. Land lease...still uncertain. After buying a house and staying there for a lifetime the government will take back the land...where will our children lay their heads!! No soft pillow to land on.....sometimes even the old folks have no where to stay. 60 years is too short.
8. Shortage of jobs at all levels. Sibu's sons and daughters cannot come back to Sibu to work because there are no factories and growth industries to accomodate them. The diaspora continues.....
All these problems are not difficult to solve if the government(s) work hand in hand with the visionaries and ordinary people with sincerity. Progress for the people is achievement of a good and strong democratic government.
A generation or two ago the Chinese Emperors did not hear about the rakyat's pain because he was cocooned in the palace....hence the famine and poverty...and the rampant murders by warlords and bandits.
Marie Antoninette famously said "Let the people eat cakes" when the salt tax was at its height in France before 1780.....
What will our beloved Agong say?
"There is a voice crying out in the wilderness!!"