One of the arguments used to justify the move to deny Chin Huat entry to Sarawak is that the state has a degree of autonomy to make such decisions – but autonomy for whom?
This is a comment left by a blog reader in response to another commenter who had said the state has autonomy to make such decisions:
The reason for change is very, very simple. Sarawak’s current autonomy is the autonomy of one man and his band of cronies, not the autonomy of its people.
Under that autonomy, foreign spouses of selected individuals can be bumiputera, while genuine bumiputera such as Penan have a hard time getting ICs, and are increasingly marginalised.
Under that autonomy, one family and its companies take in revenue that are easily more than 10 per cent of Sarawak’s GDP.
Under that autonomy, a handful of companies have come to control Sarawak’s economy — from shipping to supermarkets and hotels to instant noodles, newspapers, plantations, timber, housing, with perhaps the only area still not under their control the undertaker business.
Under that autonomy, the richest state in the country in terms of natural resources still has amongst the highest rate of poverty — with the poverty of the rural people, where so much of that natural resource wealth is located, being at least 10 per cent, as measured officially, and likely much higher if measured more strictly.
So, under that autonomy, people the man and band of cronies don’t like are kept out, while foreign workers flood in. Think of it, immigration autonomy was meant to protect Sarawakian jobs.
But who is kept out? Not people who are threatening Sarawakians their jobs. Look into any plantation — over 90 per cent are foreign workers. Indeed, look into logging operations and, unlike before, an increasing proportion are also foreign workers. Look at the wood-processing plants in Bintulu — easily 40 per cent are foreign workers. Now you know why the wage rates are so low, and why Sarawakians in the thousands and tens of thousands leave to look for jobs in Malaya, in Brunei, in Singapore and further afield.
Under the autonomy you speak of, Sarawakians are threatened over how they vote, as if it’s not the people who select the government, but the government who select the people. Indeed, it’s looking very much that way — as what happened in Sabah. If the present bunch of leaders don’t like the people’s decision, they may well decide to change the people. Already, Suai-Niah is 1/4 foreign, Sebauh is 1/5 foreign, Belaga is rapidly getting there as is Marudi and Tatau.
Yes. Change is needed for real autonomy: the autonomy of the people.