It is time for the Katibas voters to have a young, dedicated and idealistic State Assemblyman instead of a seven-term incumbent, Datuk Ambrose Blikau, who became Assemblyman even before the DAP candidate Paren Nyawi was born and could not build the road from Song to Kapit and Kanowit after more than three decades as government representative for the area.
Before the formation of Malaysia, numerous fact-finding missions from Sarawak visited Peninsular Malaysia and were promised that if Sarawak, together with Sabah and Singapore, agreed to form Malaysia, the people of Sarawak particularly in the rural areas could expect a standard of development and living comparable to those in the rural areas in the peninsula.
We now have the third generation of Sarawakians, after 53 years of the formation of Malaysia, but the promises made in the early sixties have still to be fulfilled or the road from Song to Kapit and from Song to Kanowit would have been completed one generation or two ago.
The three districts of the Kapit division, viz Song, Kapit and Belaga, are among the most backward in terms of development infrastructure not only in Sarawak but in the whole of Malaysia as well.
The Bakun Dam is in the Kapit division but most of the long-houses in the division are still without basic amenities and infrastructures, like electricity, piped water, rudimentary roads and the most health and education facilities.
What is being done to ensure that with Bakun Dam in Kapit division, the districts of Song, Kapit and Belaga will able to benefit and that the longhouses in the area would have the highest percentage of households with electricity supply?
Another example of the 53-year government failure is the large number of Sarawakians who have to go outside the Sarawak state to find jobs to eke out a living, as the Barisan Nasional state government is unable to perform its most basic duty – to creat enough jobs to keep step with the population increase in the state so that Sarawakians can find gainful employment in their own state.
This is why the time has come for a change of mindset, culture and governance in Sarawak, starting with the election of young, dedicated and idealistic Sarawakians like Paren Nyawi in Katibas, Larry Assap in Bukit Goram and Rinda Alexander in Pakan.
Paren, who had won the Mr. Borneo Hornbill Festival 2011 title, is a 35-year old local Iban from Rumah Jarop, Song, with a bacherlor’s degree in accountancy from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Shah Alam. He had worked in Kuala Lumpur as an auditor for 10 years before returning home to take up politics full-time to serve his community and Sarawakians in Katibas and Sarawak.
The May 7 Sarawak general election is an important electoral test, for it is to lead to the great electoral contest in the next Sarawak state general election in 2021, when DAP will for the first time in over four decades campaign to capture and form the Sarawak State Government with mutli-ethnic and multi-religious team of Dayaks, Chinese and Malays.
(Speech at the DAP Sarawak state general election ceramah at Rh Nganga Beguang. Song in the N62 Katibas state assembly seat on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 5 pm)