Media Statement by Wong Ho Leng in Sibu on Friday, 7th May 2010:
BN Sarawak MPs not speaking in Parliament
Sibu by-election SUPP-BN candidate, Robert Lau Hui Yew has openly started campaigning even before nomination day in his bid to ‘demonstrate his sincerity’ to further development in Sibu if he is elected as a Member of Parliament.
My big question to him is: After all these many years with the SUPP-BN government controlling the constituency, why hasn’t the government put in an serious efforts to mitigate flood problems that has been haunting Sibu for years?
Despite the tremendous resources allocated to the area as claimed by Barisan Nasional, why is Sibu still lacking so far behind in its infrastructure development?
If this is an example of the promise “With BN, there is development”, by now we should have already surpassed Kuching as the better city in terms of development. The same question can be asked of the issue of the Chinese primary school, SJKC Tung Hua, which gets flooded in a day’s rain.
How can the people of Sibu put their faith in the word and promises of the SUPP candidate, Robert Lau when SUPP has consistently failed to deliver its promises for the last 10 years?
In reality, Sarawak BN MPs’ performances in Parliament has been dismal. In an interview last year, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar revealed that Sarawak MPs are among the least active when it comes to speaking in Parliament. Their presence is hardly noticed because they are not vocal and not active at all in participating in parliamentary debates. This is a strong indictment that many BN MPs do not have the interests of Sarawak and Sarawakians at heart.
Obviously, BN MPs are not earning their keep because they are inactive, not vocal and they do not like to speak when attending parliamentary sessions.
Infrastructure development in Sibu is at least 20 years behind West Malaysia. Also, despite the fact that Sarawak produces almost 1/3 of Malaysian oil and gas, Sarawak only receives 5% in oil royalty fees, and the rate has remained the same for over 30 years.
Other problems concerning Sarawak include insufficient schools (especially Chinese schools), unequal opportunities for JPA scholarships, disparity in financial allocations, lack of funds for flood mitigation, disparity in employment opportunities (many West Malaysians are employed in federal agencies and departments in Sarawak).
This has made Sibu one of the poorest areas in the whole country.
Sarawak BN MPs’ will not stand up and voice out the concerns of Sibu and its people in Parliament. Their mouse-like demeanour and discreet behaviour in Parliament gives the impression to the BN Government that everything is fine in their constituencies and that they are handling the issues well. This means that the plight of the people and the unsolved issues in Sibu often go unnoticed.
Currently, we only have one Opposition member from Sarawak in Parliament -- Chong Chieng Jen, the MP for Bandar Kuching. Although he is the only one from Sarawak, Deputy Speaker Junaidi has singled out Chong as being very vocal in Parliament. Sarawakians, especially voters in Bandar Kuching, ought to be proud that they have a vocal MP serving them in Parliament.
During the election petition trial brought on by Kho Whai Phiaw last year, Chong Chieng Jen said in Court that he has spoken up more in Parliament than the combined efforts of all SUPP MPs. The lawyers for Kho Whai Phiaw did not challenge this statement at all, which therefore must be taken as the truth.
Therefore, the biggest concern for the Sibu people now is: If they elect Robert Lau Hui Yew as their representative in Parliament, will he be just another “Yes-Man” for the BN government? Will Robert Lau have enough courage to voice out the concerns of the people of Sibu? Will Robert Lau be an outspoken man of Sibu who truly cares about the plight and predicament of the people of Sibu?
I challenge Robert Lau Hui Yew to declare that when he is elected into Parliament, he will support the following government proposals:
If Robert Lau Hui Yew does not dare to take the right stand, on what basis would he actively defend the interests of the people in Sibu?
* Wong Ho Leng, DAP Sarawak Chairman & State Assemblyman for Bukit Assek