By all counts, the country may be having the 13th General election, parliamentary elections for Sarawak, in the first half of 2012. DAP, a credible opposition in the State, has already declared its intention to contest in all Chinese majority constituencies in urban areas of Kuching, Sarikei, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri and five Dayak majority constituencies of Mas Gading, Mambong, Serian, Sri Aman and Kanowit.
The loose opposition pact, which has never agreed on anything except to oust Barisan Nasional from Putra Jaya, in the words of Anwar Ibrahim, is confident of wresting Putra Jaya with the help of Sarawak and Sabah. DAP and allies in Sarawak hope to deliver at least 15 seats to realise their dream of becoming parties in the government come the 13th National Election.
Y.B. Dr. Annuar Rapa'ee(Nangka)
DAP has already vowed, if elected to power, to scrap the development of SCORE, which it considers to be a burden to the people. Even the implementation of Bengoh dam is a big burden to the people in the four affected Bidayuh Kampung in Ulu Padawan . This article appears widely in Opposition websites. Ironically, members of DAP have not found it appropriate to speak against SCORE in the current sittings of the State legislative Assembly.
Now it is not the time to consider that DAP and allies as dreamers. It has successfully diminished SUPP’s role as a party representing the Chinese community in Sarawak. Instead, the people must see that the stake is too great for the party to come even closure to power in Sarawak
Hence, parties in the government must make conscientious efforts to get the people to understand the development policies and programs and defend them together. They must work together not only to win an election but perpetuate a system of government that can serve the people in genuine manner. That should be the way to the future in carrying out the battle of the mind against the opposition, which is bent on belittling and thwarting their efforts in development. Even the proposed 2012 Surplus Budget, is seen by the Opposition as having the black hole.
Undoubtedly, the government has a got good track record of services. Besides, the present government has another five years to combine genuine services with the ability to be engaged with the people to help them to understand what it has been trying to do for them.
Y.B. Puan Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali
In this respect, parties in the government must look at the strategy that is far bigger and more permanent than just to win an election in order to get the people to support their policies and programs towards the year 2020 and beyond. There must be substance in and whatever they advocate so that the people can see what are being done by the government for them.
The government, with its machinery, experience and expertise should be able to win over the situation provided the backbenchers are brave enough to hold on to the values that have been proven to be successful. They must be prepared to defend the heritage and past performances that have been proven to be successful.
DAP has already declared that it will scrap SCORE if it comes to power. There is no guarantee that the party will not destroy all the foundation of good governance and good economic policies that the government has been pursuing all throughout the years. That is the prospect that the must appreciate in facing the next general elections.
Y.B. Encik Dennis Ngau
Obviously, government backbenchers must explain to the people how they can help themselves in the process of development; they will not help themselves merely by dishing out development allocations here and there. They must defend their positions against the opposition in order to remain the government of the people and for the people. They may suffer losses of votes from time to time but they must accept the ups and downs in politics as natural things in democracy. However, they must never sacrifice what they believe to be good for the people. That is the essence and the foundation of their relationship with the people.
Regrettably, some politicians within Barisan Nasional, sometimes opt to support the opposition’s stand, instead of defending the government, in popular debates with the misgiving that they may retain the support of the people. Such stance can be likened to kicking the ball into one’s own goal mouth.
Those concerned may survive as non players, which, in essence is the natural development of populist policies. Obviously, they do not subscribe to the concept of the government as a whole primarily to maintain the institution and build a good network of information around them to enable them to defend all policies that are correct for the people.
Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, is his speech during a recent Parliamentary discourse for Government backbenchers, says an alternative route to get engaged actively with the people is through the machinery of local government. In this connection, councillors will be appointed by the government to explain to the people what ought to be done to ensure socio-economic and cultural development of the society can be carried out in a healthy manner.
He does not believe that local government should be consisting of another tier of politicians as it will only make politics to be our all and end all. There are people among the NGOs, who want to serve in a positive way to help the people. These people should be encouraged to participate in the acts of government in the services of the community and society. The process should be able to seep down slowly the empowerment of leaders at various levels in getting the people to understand bigger issues on the ground through maximum interaction between them and grass root leaders.
Y.B. Encik Paulus Anak Gumbang
Pehin Sri Abdul Taib believes the future of Sarawak is great. The transformation to a bright future will get a lot of acceptance on the ground provided the machinery of the government can engage people to grab opportunities that are being built for them in the process of development. In this respect, it is important that the machinery of the government must be able to help the people to rise up to the challenge. They must be encouraged to look forward into the future with hopes, ability and commitment to work for their own future.
He says the challenges ahead will be greater as the people are getting more literate. They want to be involved in free discussions where even people, who may not have stakes in the country, can take part in them. Basically, the challenge of democracy world over is adjusting to the situation that is overflowing with information, which sometimes are irrelevant to local settings and yet influencing the people. The internet is a new invention that has made the safeguarding of stability and development of democracy in quite an awkward manner.
Pehin Sri Abdul Taib says government backbenchers must endeavour to equip themselves with relevant knowledge and information to help people to understand the good things that are being done for them. Admittedly, it is not an easy task to bring people, who have been fighting for poverty with very limited knowledge, to participate in the elaborate system of economic policies that will give them greater prosperity.
Y.B. Encik Abdullah Saidol
Therefore, conscientious efforts must be made to win them over to support policies that are being advocated to make the concept of government by the people really benefit them. The struggle in the life of democracy must be made continuous as democracies, even if they have been developed for so long still need re-inventing to suit the time.
He admits that it is also very easy for government backbenchers to be dragged into debates with the opposition, whose primary goal is to get the best of publicity. They may win momentarily but can never remain strong because they cannot run away from the realities of life.
For example, popular policies being pursued by governments in a number of developed countries in Europe have brought them to almost a standstill and put parliament into the position of quandary. The governments cannot find solution to their economic problems. The leaders cannot find consensus even to get the country out of the serious crisis.
Obviously, populist policies being pursued by governments in Europe have landed the countries in very serious debts. They have been resorting to borrowing in order to give what the people want without examining whether what the people want is what the country really needs. All they care is how to get the majority support.