Happy Easter 2011:

“AGI IDUP AGI NGELABAN BN!”

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Agik Idup, Agik Ngelaban!
Sim Kwang Yang, Malaysia Kini, 19 April 2011

At the height of the Sarawak general election, I received an email from a young Malaysiakini reader. The following is the content of her message, sent a short time after the final day’s mammoth rally for Pakatan Rakyat in Stutong, Kuching, a few hours before polling began.

“Dear Mr Sim Kwang Yang, “I was there at the ceramah held in Stutong. I heard your speech and I was very moved by what you said. I hope for a new Sarawak, and a new hope for the young people.

“I am 27 years old and I hope that my generation can learn from you on what it is to persevere and be strong in times of difficulty. Your fighting spirit has made me realise that we young people have taken many things for granted.

“I stood very near the stage and as such, I was privileged to be able to hear and see you clearly. Your speech was moving. I was also there when the police rushed up to try to stop the ceramah from proceeding (right).

“I saw this, and I knew what it felt like to be denied the freedom to voice out. This is how our ideas are suppressed. Fortunately, the unity and cooperation from the crowd prevailed, and we could continue. That made me see and realise something powerful.

“So after the ceramah, I decided to go back and ‘find’ you. I found a website called ‘Hornbill Unleashed’ and I read your plea to citizens to help vote for See Chee How on April 16. That was when I decided to write to you and drop you a sincere and simple message.

“I was also touched by the crowd that managed to gather on April 15, despite all the hurdles we have to overcome to support what we believe is true. I wish to see a new future for me and my fellow Sarawakians.

“I am voting in Batu Lintang area and I will do my best on April 16 to lend a helping hand in making it a dream come true for us here; so that we can form a new government.

“Ubah!

“Yours sincerely, Batu Lintang Voter”

When voting had ended, I was hoping for a miracle to happen, for a tsunami of votes to overthrow the BN government so that we could enjoy a regime change in the state of Sarawak.

In the end, the tsunami did not happen. We will have to wait for the next round, for the parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, the Barisan Nasional has suffered severe losses at the poll, with their share of the popular vote dropping eight percentage points from 63 percent to 55 percent.

Have we witnessed the beginning of the end of the corrupt practices that have plagued the BN regime? We may very well have for we have many future general elections to come.

Thank God, we live in Malaysia, where the door is always open for a change of government through the ballot box. We Malaysians just have to learn to be patient and realise that change cannot come overnight.

The greatest crowd in Sarawak’s history

In the urban constituencies at least, a mini-tsunami did happen, with DAP winning 12 of the seats that they contested.

I congratulate the DAP on their historic success as they almost wiped out the SUPP in the urban, mostly Chinese, constituencies. This is the DAP’s grandest success since their entry into Sarawak in 1978. SUPP is left with only two urban seats, making it a real mosquito party in state politics.

The tremendous victory of PKR in Batu Lintang in Kuching made my old friend See Chee How an overnight hero as he won with a huge majority of 8,381 votes.

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I went to Kuching to campaign for him, and the vast crowd of 20,000 people at the final ceramah, from both PKR and DAP, made this the greatest crowd ever in the history of Sarawakian politics. I was honoured to be able to address the crowd as a guest speaker, in one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.

I had held the previous record of 12,000 in 1990 at a ceramah when I was contesting against Stephen Yong from SUPP. I am very glad my personal record has been shattered by the monster crowds at this Sarawak general election. This is called progress.

I feel deeply satisfied, too, by Baru Bian’s success in the Ba’kelalan constituency. His long record of leadership in Sarawak has finally been rewarded. Now he must take on the awesome burden of preparing for the upcoming parliamentary elections. It is a heavy yoke on his back, and I pray to God for divine intervention for Baru.

I am also glad that PKR’s third victory comes from Ali Biju, a self-made businessman representing the people of Krian, Saratok, three hours’ drive from Kuching. I wish him a successful political career in future.

The other PKR leaders and candidates defeated in the election bore witness to the success of money politics at work. The spectre of vote-buying has once again ruled supreme in these state polls. It will require many years of political education in the rural areas of Sarawak for us to rid ourselves of this seemingly eternal and undying form of corruption.

As for Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, his days as the supreme chief are numbered. Let me wish him a speedy early retirement in advance.

To all Sarawakians, Agik Idup, Agik Ngelaban!

SIM KWANG YANG was member of parliament for Bandar Kuching, Sarawak from 1982 to 1995. He can be reached at sky8hornbill[at]gmail.com. All comments are welcomed.

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