By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: Sarawak PKR has resorted to CDs and leaflets as part of its campaign to wrest control of the state from Barisan Nasional in the coming state elections.
Launching the campaign here, state PKR chairman Baru Bian said some 200 CDs and leaflets were distributed at a function at the Dewan Masyarakat car park on Sunday.
“In the next week or so, some 10,000 CDs and 40,000 leaflets will be distributed in Kuching and its suburbs. Tens of thousands of CDs and leaflets have and will be distributed in the rural areas in the months leading to the state election,” he said.
“This is part of our strategy against the BN which will be using the government machinery, the use of money politics, the distribution of rural minor projects and other 'instant mee’ projects as well as the use of Tuai Ramah, Penghulu and other community leaders," he said.
Bian said the CDs contained a call for change and the three decades of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's rule.
“Basically these CDs stress on the need for change in Sarawak after it has been ruled over 47 years by the BN and 30 years under the leadership of Abdul Taib Mahmud.
“In these, it is a clear message to the people of Sarawak that the time to change is now - change from the present government to Pakatan Rakyat government.
"“There are lots of things to be changed,” he added.
PKR's Christmas message
Bian agreed with Pesaka Bersatu Bumiputera (PBB) deputy president Abang Johari Openg who said that people were very knowledgeable and knew what to do. Abang Johari is also the Minister of Housing and Urban Development.
“And I take it that the people also know the failures of the BN government. For the last 47 years we have been suffering and have been ill-treated by the BN,” Bian added.
He said the message in the CDs and leaflets were also about good governance, transparency to all, accountability to the people and integrity and what the Pakatan government will do for the people of the state.
“We hope the message of change will reach every part of Sarawak – the longhouses, the villages and settlements and to share our vision.
“We appeal to everyone in town including the professionals and the young people to bring this message of change during this Christmas and New Year – the good news from PKR to the people,” he added.
Meanwhile, the state BN has also launched its secret weapon - the use of Tuai Rumah (longhouse chiefs) - to retain its power in Sarawak.
In the past three months, the state BN has been carrying out ‘indoctrination’ programme for these community leaders.
More than 5,000 community leaders have so far undergone such programme with the latest being held in Sri Aman.
The one-day programme included subjects on their duties to the state government and looking after the interests and welfare of the people under their care.
“You should be efficient and active and knowledgeable about your village or longhouse dwellers. You should know their educational level, economic status, jobs, their families and their political interest,” PBB deputy president and Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu had said, when opening the state community leaders development and leadership seminar 2010 in Sri Aman.
BN using longhouse chiefs
He warned them not to entertain opposition politicians into their longhouses and villages during the coming state election.
“They can be relieved of their positions if they do not follow the government. The district officer or the resident has the right to sack leaders whom people feel failed to carry out their duties,” Jabu warned.
Reacting to this, Nicholas Bawin, a PKR leader and former deputy president of Sarawak native customary laws council, pointed out that it was wrong for the government to use them.
“The Tuai Rumah should be neutral and should not be involved in partisan politics because this will lead to the break-up of longhouses.
“Not many people will support their headmen,” he said, pointing out that there are also some longhouse headmen who refused to follow the government’s directive.
“Many are prepared to be sacked when they realize that their NCR land have been taken away,” he said.
At present, a Tuai Rumah is appointed by the government through a political party and is paid an allowance of RM450 per month.
Beginning January next year, the Tuai Rumah is expected to receive RM800 a month as promised by the federal government.
Previously, the Tuai Rumah was elected by the people of the longhouse based on his knowledge of their customs, traditions and Adat (laws) and was not paid any allowance.