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If Bintulu and Sarawak are to have “world-class  development”,a  strong DAP role in State Assembly  to push for development of  “first-class mentality” is indispensable


Media Statement
Lim Kit Siang

Bintulu , Thursday) : Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called on the people of Kidurong  to support  the Barisan Nasional (BN) plan to bring “world-class development” to Bintulu. The best way for voters of Kidurong to support any BN  plan to bring “world-class development” to Bintulu is to  re-elect  Chew Chin Sin as the State Assemblyman for Kidurong  to ensure the success of the  plan.


This  rule in fact applies to the Sarawak state general election, for if Bintulu and Sarawak are to have “world-class development” a strong DAP role in the Sarawak State Assembly is indispensable to push for “first class mentality” among the State government leaders, right from State Cabinet to State Assembly level and infusing the entire Sarawak state government and society with the same mindset!


“World class development” cannot be brought about by just talk while continuing to maintain “third-world” or even “fourth-world” mentality.


The best illustration is our universities. In the sixties and seventies, the nation’s premier university, the University of Malaya, was  on par  in international repute and ranking with  the best in the Asia-Pacific, such as the University of Singapore, the University of Hong Kong, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.


Starting from the eighties, however, there has been a relentless erosion in university standards and quality in the country, with University of Malaya falling far behind the Universities of Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney.


In 2004, Malaysia was ranked 89th among the World’s 200 Best Universities in the survey by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), falling 80 positions to 169th ranking in 2005 – even losing to Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University!


It is not that Malaysia is short of talents and quality human capital to have world-class universities which are at par with the best universities in other countries, but because we continue to allow “third class mentality” to run the country and the universities!


The  Prime Ministers had promised that one of the major thrusts of the  Ninth Malaysia Plan, which was adopted by Parliament last month, is to create a “first-class mentality”.


But this was immediately contradicted by the ridiculous Barisan Nasional rule that BN MPs cannot support Opposition motions, whether right or wrong, and cannot vote according to their conscience – the loudest advertisement  that BN leaders and BN elected representatives are themselves not ready for a “first-class mentality”!


If things are so bad in Parliament, it is worse in the Sarawak State Assembly, unless it is checked by a strong band of DAP Assembly representatives.


Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr. George Chan claimed yesterday that the Dayak community had never been sidelined in the state government’s development agenda.


It would appear that Dr. George Chan is living in a very different world from the majority of the Dayak community.


I can still remember the eloquent and most touching speech of the Dayak Member of Parliament for Sri Aman, Jimmy Donalds, in the recent Parliament where he lamented how before Malaysia was established in 1963, the Dayaks were brought to Malaya in waves of visits  and promised that Sarawakians will enjoy the same development they saw in the peninsula if they supported the formation of  Malaysia.


He said his father’s generation  had waited in vain for such development and passed on, and asked whether he and his generation would be passing on without the fulfillment of the promises of development to the Dayak community, leaving to his children and children’s children  to wait for the keeping of the development promises to the Dayak community made in the early 60s.


I am shocked at the utter despair and dilapidation of the living conditions of the Dayaks just in Bintulu, which must rank as the worst of any grouping in Malaysia – something which all Malaysians should be thoroughly ashamed in 2006 and  when the government is talking about “first-world development”!


When campaigning in Kidurong, Najib said opposition parties such as the DAP only championed the cause of one community but the BN struggled for all communities in the country.


He cannot be more wrong. In the recent Parliament, I was the one who raised the injustice of discrimination against Dayaks who were not given their full rights as bumiputras, citing the case of a Bidayuh whose application  for a RM5 million loan meant for bumiputera entrepreneurs was rejected on the ground that he was not “recognized as a bumiputera”!


Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek Hussein had promised to investigate into the case and I would expect a satisfactory answer from him in the next Parliamentary meeting starting on June 26.

DAP will continue to represent and champion the rights of all Malaysians, in particular those who had been sidelined and discriminated by the injustices of the Barisan Nasional development agenda – whether Dayak, Malay, Chinese or  Indians; whether Sarawak, Sabah or Peninsula Malaysia.   


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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