Friday, April 8, 2011

Seeing is believing, but depends on who sees what?

The papers screamed that the 30-year Bako land problem had been resolved. However, that was way back in February.

The 800 landowners in the coastal area of Bako then heaved a giant sigh of relief when Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud announced that the legal freeze placed on the land under Section 47 of the Sarawak Land Code, would be lifted immediately.

Section 47 of the code is a notice to landowners that the government intends to acquire their land for public purposes.

And with that, the powers that be back in Kuching quickly relegated the problems of the Bako folks to the back burner. They have got what they have been fighting for the last three decades.

Three decades is a very long time, during which many of them may have fallen by the way and given up all hope.

This speaks a lot about how things such as this are being handled in Sarawak.
Now, with the state election around the corner, such matters had better be resolved, and resolved fast.

But then again, by doing this now can the powers that be feel certain that everything is ok and the carpets could be rolled and thrown back into the musty cupboard?

Not really…

This morning several journalists from the mainstream media descended on the area.

What greeted them was very much heart-warming for the Barisan Nasional (BN) lot – the stilted kampung houses and the perahus bobbing in the fast flowing Sungai Sarawak were aflutter with BN and PBB flags.

It was a good sign, indeed. However, when this blogger trundled over to the place, which lies about 37km from Kuching city, the sight that greeted me was an exhilarating world of difference from the traffic congestion of the city.

Except for a few BN and PBB flags, what I saw most were PKR flags flying from rooftops across the river, and even a Japanese flag!

Of course, I had to chat up some of the folks here, and what I gathered was that BN’s hold was intact in Bako…or is it?

A youngish fella idling away the hours from whom I got my first feedback said the villagers would naturally vote for BN as it has all the financial capabilities to sustain the place.

True, indeed, but then again, this young fella was not even a registered voter at 23 years old!

And so I caught up with an older respondent in the form of Dollah Alek, 64, who had lived in Kampung Bako all his life.

He said he had seen everything – from the time Sarawak was still in the clutches of the British, the Konfrontasi with Indonesia and the formation of Malaysia.

Pak Lah, as he is fondly called did not mince his words when he said this time around he would shift side.

“I am through with the likes of Taib Mahmud and his people casting their shadows over our lives for over 30 years,” he lamented.

“No, I am a staunch supporter of the BN ideals at heart but enough is enough, I want to vote for change this time.

“Perhaps, when the excitement and dust of the election have settled I might return to BN,” he added.

Pak Lah’s respond carried a similar strain with several other villagers I spoke to.

After this sudden revelation despite the picture painted by the other media in the morning, I have come to conclude that things in Sarawak are not what they seem to be.
Seeing is believing and it depends on who sees what.

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