Sarawak polls: Adenan is NOT the reformer he claims to be


PKR deputy president Azmin Ali is the latest opposition campaigner to be blocked in what is turning out to be the most farcical election campaign the state has ever seen.

Yesterday, a clearly riled up Tasik Gelugor Pas information chief Abdul Rahman Kasim informed me that several Pas campaigners from Penang, Kedah and Perlis had been barred from entry into Sarawak in recent days. Today, he informed me again that a few more Pas campaigners have been barred. (Rahman believes they don’t like Pas folk with skull-caps or beards; he can’t think of any other reason why they have been barred!)

Many other activists and opposition campaigners have been blocked as well. (Last night, by contrast, TV2 ran a short promotional film showcasing “development” and harmony in Sarawak, with enough glimpses of Najib and Adenan.)

Election campaigning is a legitimate political activity, no doubt about it. And yet, campaigners from across the country have been denied entry into the state. Submit this to the Guinness Book of World Records, I say. (All this while, BN campaigners have access to helicopters and speedboats to reach interior areas in the state.)

Even the autocratic former Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud, at his worst never resorted to such tactics – though of course there was the gerrymandering, malapportionment and the euphemistic ‘politics of development’.

So is Adenan, who stood by silently all these years, really the reformist he claims to be? Far from it. In fact, analyst Faisal S Hazis, in this perceptive analysis, believes Adenan is overrated.

Faisal says the BN should still win a two-thirds majority (55 seats) of the 82 state seats but it will be hard-pressed to reach Adenan’s target of 70 seats.

Despite all the shameful obstacles put in the way of opposition campaigners, Faisal still expects the opposition to win 10-16 seats. (In 2011, opposition and independent candidates won 16 out of 71 seats.)

Whatever the outcome, Sarawak and Sabah are poised to play a more decisive role as ‘king-makers’ in national politics, given the number of parliamentary seats allotted to the two states. But there is no guarantee they will stick with the BN. There is also no guarantee that the greater autonomy they crave will benefit the ordinary people rather than the fat cats.

The BN government in Sarawak has had a terrible record in several key areas:

  • its wealth from oil royalties – in fact, this must be the wealthiest state in the federation in terms of natural resources – has not filtered to ordinary rural dwellers. Instead, cronies have grown fat.
  • its magnificent primary rainforests, a global treasure in this era of climate change, has all but been wiped out by the politically well-connected timber and plantation barons, leaving less than 10 per cent of the original forests remaining.
  • many of the schools in the state are in poor condition.
  • basic amenities such as piped water and electricity are still lacking in many areas. And we are in the 21st Century!
  • vast swathes of native customary land have been grabbed for a pittance.
  • Sarawak former chief minister Taib Mahmud’s family company CMS (and other well-connected firms) have amassed enormous wealth from infrastructure projects in the state.

Where was Adenan all this while?

And now under Score, the so-called Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy, the BN state government is poised to build many more mega dams, even though the projected 16 per cent annual growth in energy demand appears to be inflated; it easily exceeds even China’s annual growth rate in energy demand during its boom period.

(This kinda reminds me of the latest Penang transport masterplan, which seems to inflate Penang’s projected population growth rate – even though the state’s fertility level and net inward migration have been falling – to justify massive investments in more expensive transport infrastructure options.)

A University of Berkelery study reveals that a smaller-scale energy solution for Sarawak would be much cheaper and more effective.:

The Small-Scale Solution

Now a new study out of the University of California–Berkeley reveals that there are better energy alternatives that could electrify rural villages in the river basin in a sustainable manner, and at a fraction of the current cost of the SCORE project.

More importantly, the study has the potential to become a powerful tool for rural villages to take charge of their own energy future and actively participate in the energy debate around them.

The UC Berkeley report, Kampung Capacity: Local Solutions for Sustainable Rural Energy in the Baram River Basin, was conducted by graduate student Rebekah Shirley with the director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, Dr. Daniel Kammen. The researchers surveyed the energy options for three villages (or kampungs) along the Baram River, in collaboration with the Sabah-based group Land, Empowerment, Animals and People (LEAP) and Oregon-based group Green Empowerment.

The researchers found that the most feasible and least-cost options for these villages are locally managed small-scale hydropower projects, followed by biogas generators with batteries. In fact, Green Empowerment has already successfully installed small-scale hydro in a number of villages in Sarawak. These would replace the villages’ polluting diesel generators, would cost approximately 40% less (and have no recurring fuel costs), would give them uninterrupted power (unlike existing systems), and could be paid back in three years’ time.

Not only would these villages be saved from the social, economic, and environmental impacts that would accompany SCORE’s megadams, they would also receive cheap, clean electricity based on locally managed renewable resources. This in turn could lead to a score of other benefits including improved opportunities for education, greater social cohesion, and long-term local economic development.

According to the authors, expanding these benefits to all of rural Sarawak will require new policies, financing tools such as microfinance, and other institutional mechanisms that can support the implementation of these small-scale technologies across the country. But most of all, it will require public and political will to prioritize, as the authors put it, “empowering and strengthen[ing] indigenous life in East Malaysia.”

Unfortunately, Small is Beautiful is anathema to many politicians – not just in Sarawak. They would much prefer Big Bucks Mega Infrastructure Projects, which primarily benefit major corporate interests, rather than cheaper, financially and environmentally more sustainable and effective solutions for the people.

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Angry Bird
Angry Bird
16 May 2016 4.37pm

No Chinese DCM for Sarawak – Adenan has performed the biggest con job to deceive the Chinese votes. Sarawak Chinese are stupid to be duped into supporting SUPP.

7 May 2016 12.23am

God says: “I gave you a chance to redeem Sarawak. Now, what are you doing which you are not supposed to do?”
Note: the above is a parable to mirror a real-life testimony from someone who still thinks he is popular beyond good judgement & damnation for a song.

7 May 2016 8.36am
Reply to  tunglang

Adenan: ‘can’t help falling in love’

Awang Selamat Ori
Awang Selamat Ori
7 May 2016 12.12am

Tony Pua the future KM of Penang. LGE should give way. Tony is in every way more qualified, capable and more educated than LGE. He is clean. LGE will be a Federal Minister and contest a Parliament seat only ( if Pakatan wins). We have enough of LGE, he is a KM, tell us frankly what he done for Penangnites? Impoverishing a generation of first time house buyers with his affordable housing price. This is the price innocent first time voters paid for, for supporting a monster. Will this call of support for Tony Pua to be the KM of… Read more »

7 May 2016 2.19pm

what wellbeing and housing minister has done?armno federal get oil money gst and selling rmaf base for billions. show us the money?

6 May 2016 10.11pm

every 5 years bn is trying to convince about development over 40 years of formation of malaysia. next election vote bn for development again?

7 May 2016 7.50am
Reply to  zoro

In 1963 Sarawak joined Malaya with Sabah & Singapore as a quarter partner of Malaysia. Today Sarawak is merely 1/13 of Malaysia, with many low income rakyat despite having natural resources like timber and oil.

Adenan was jolted when Najib in his cabinet meeting firmly denied Sarawak 20% oil royalty. What autonomy is Adenan talking about?

6 May 2016 9.59pm

dont get conned about chinese or dayak representative. bawadi convince others to wotk with him and gave him a sttong mandate. yet we were conned. no difference when amno in power. how many uec grads can get a job with sarawak gomen. all just for show. needs and not race or religion

6 May 2016 9.22pm

The copter crash though tragic a warning to Sarawakians to vote wisely?

6 May 2016 6.22pm

Singing old man Adenan buying Sarawakian votes for a song.
rajraman. Meanwhile Pakatan fighting each other.Great cooperation shown by Pakatan.They fight for their Party votes than Sarawakian votes.

6 May 2016 5.34pm

Thank you for listing the major outrages. Other amenities lacking include emergency communications, emergency medical services, basic medical services, identity documents, emergency supply of food and water (to those whose land has been appropriated by force or destroyed). The strategy may be to promote migration out of the interior that is a gold mine for timber and minerals. The plunder – easily visible on Google Earth – affects the vast, so-called forest reserves, protected forests, National Parks, etc. How much greenhouse gas was generated from the hustle and bustle of this election alone? “… most feasible and least-cost options …”… Read more »

6 May 2016 4.28pm

yes it is.

6 May 2016 3.45pm

One sided reporting favouring BN on all local TV stations.
Cash Is King will dupe the rural Sarawakians once again.
Sad but true.

13 May 2016 10.39am
Reply to  Salrajeet

After the Sarawak election, TV1 and TV3 no longer show clips and programs on Sarawak…

6 May 2016 3.29pm

Sometimes i wonder are malaysians cursed because comes every 5 year they willingly chose to be fooled, dipermainkan and diperbodohkan again and again and it has been like that for more then half a century, mind you !!!

Let us see this time in sarawak and the majority of the sarawakians are christians, dont tell me the Almighty didnt give them the wisdom to vote ???

I truly hope this time they will break the curse !!!

gk ong
gk ong
6 May 2016 4.32pm
Reply to  lim

Simple wisdom is to take whatever BN handouts, but still vote for Pakatan Harapan. The Almighty cannot help those who could not help themselves, and choose to be blinded by the Adenan Fever, having listened to his rendition of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. Remeber that Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

6 May 2016 2.26pm

The heat of Sarawak election has finally hit this blog, after the helicopter crashed.

Dato Seri Azmin : Adenan, Sarawak bukan milik BAPA kamu!

Tony Pua explained to Sarawakians the 1MDB scandal (which Adenan claimed has nothing to do with Sarawak) in simple Malay and Mandarin via SKYPE as he is barred from entering Sarawak.

6 May 2016 3.28pm
Reply to  owc

Stupid for Adenan to say 1MDB has nothing to concern Sarawak as if Sarawakians are not tax payers!