As the state election draws nearer, many federal ministers will be coming to Sarawak to help the state BN in this campaigns. They will not come “empty handed” as they will be bringing along promises and pledges of projects.
What is of greater concern to Sarawakians is that some of the earlier projects promised before the last election in 2011 and the 2013 parliamentary polls are yet to be implemented.
The RM200 million Sri Aman hospital promised before the 2011 state election is one such project. The others are the multi-storied car park at the Sarawak General Hospital, the RM500 million Petrajaya hospital, across river in Kuching and the RM1 billion allocation to repair and build new schools in Sarawak. More than 600 schools throughout the state are in need of urgent repair.
And there is the pledge of revising the oil and gas royalty from the present 5 per cent; promises of better lives for mega dam settlers, and many more promises and pledges – in fact too many to be written here.
Yes, the federal leaders have been promising Sarawakians various development projects every time there is an election, and yet Sarawak voters, especially the rural folk, will never learn.
No wonder the voters have been reminded by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How that they should be cautious and vigilant against the promises of development grants and projects by federal ministers and deputy ministers.
Making promises alone is not good enough and the federal ministers and deputy ministers should disclose the projects and grants, ensure the funds are delivered and the projects are completed before the coming state election.
“At the same time, the state ministers and deputy ministers are reminded that they have a duty to ensure that their federal colleagues listen to what Sarawak is asking for, including our rights to decide on the projects and to disburse the funds allocation.
“They certainly should not bring the federal ministers and deputy ministers around, showcase these federal leaders and keep quiet when they just make empty promises,” he told a press conference.
See, who is state PKR vice chairman, said he was sceptical that the promises would be fulfilled, especially those promised to rural villages and longhouses.
“I have to caution our folk and the state leaders because it is evident that the promises by the BN national leaders are usually exaggerated,” he said when referring to the promise by Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob that he would allocate 30 per cent or RM14.9 billion of the RM49.47 billion allocation for his ministry under the 11th Malaysia Plan to Sarawak.
He was doubtful about what the minister said because Chief Minister Adenan Satem had told the Sarawak State Assembly last month that Sarawak was allocated RM20 billion under the 11th Malaysia Plan to implement 915 projects.
Out of the said allocation, RM8.6 billion to RM10.5 billion are for the implementation of rural development projects.
See said Ismail Sabri was clearly trying to fish for votes for the state election when making the announcement.
See’s colleague Baru Bian was very blunt on the same issue when he accused the federal government of “bluffing” the Sarawak voters, especially during elections, for making promises of the implementation of mega projects worth millions or even billions of ringgit in the state.
“This is to make Sarawak voters, their ‘fixed deposit’ happy, but the people never realised that all these are mere bluffing,” said Baru, Sarawak PKR chairman in a recent interview.
He was referring to a statement by a Sarawak minister who had given strong proof of BN’s rhetoric and broken promises on development projects that were to be implemented in Sarawak.
Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Michael Manyin said that the money promised by Putrajaya never came and the projects could not be implemented.
“The federal government has no funds. They are only bluffing us Sarawakians, and we have been taken for a ride,” said Baru, who is also the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman.
What is worrying Sarawakians is that the “old” deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin has been replaced by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Sarawakians want to know what will happen to the construction of schools, hospitals, roads and the supply of electricity and water and other pledges and promises made by the former deputy prime minister.
He also promised to adopt two Penan villages in the interior of Baram so that a special programme could be introduced to bring development, healthcare services and education to the Penan natives. Following Muhyiddin’s sacking the programme was stopped.
Do all these projects, like the adoption of two Penan village development programme, come to naught because Muhyiddin is no longer deputy prime minister?