Sarawak, Ooops! Tanah Air Ku… (Sarawak, Ooops! My Mother Land…)
The Dayak poverty in Sarawak!? Some say that the poverty rate is about 8%; others might not agree. They would (love to) say “No! It should be more than that; (it) could be around 20%!” Well, statistics will remain as statistics, as it involves population sampling, availability of study samples, forecasting, etc.
Well, I don’t want to elaborate on Dayak poverty in Sarawak, as there’s an article posted in DayakBaru.com. Kindly click on the image below for details.
See the caricature as shown below. What does it tell?!
The above dialogue is hereby translated into English:
|Grandpa||:||Where are you working right now, grandson?|
|Grandpa||:||Where is (this place called) Sungai Po? (Is it in) Batang Ai?!|
|Grandson||:||Nope… It’s over (the) sea!|
Yes, you’re right! Sarawak is indeed one of the wealthy states* in Malaysia Federation; blessed with numerous natural resources, etc. However, the poverty rate is still considered as “high“.
To cut it short, the obvious reasons are:
- Difficult geographical terrain*;
- Less employment opportunities;
- Lowly paid jobs – chances are abundant to employ more foreign workers – a trick known to the Labor Office… (Ooops!);
- More graduates and non-graduates alike are “increasingly” unemployed (the average figure for the unemployment rate given by SPU** for the year 2006 – 2008 was about 4%!);
No wonder, most Sarawakians (including my beloved Amoy) have been migrated to West Malaysia (especially KL and Johor Bahru) in search of jobs with better pay. While some of them are currently living and working as far as in the US, UK, the Gulf states, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, some equatorial-African states, Singapore, etc. I presumed that this trend will continuously “expanding” in the future, unless changes are to be made for a bright and better future for all Sarawakians. How about other Malaysians?! Well, it’s a federal matter, anyway! So, our hopes and dreams are remaining high, lah! To date, Sarawak – our beloved state – will continuously having “headache” due to brain damage drainage! Phew!
OK, I’m going to “divert” your attention a bit! There is a story – which is real and later turned into a joke – which I’ve got from my circle of friends. But before I proceed, I would like to apologize to all my Melanau and Orang Ulu readers first (if any, lah!), as this kind of “joke” might caused them offended. Well, no lawsuit, please! Otherwise, I won’t tell it here. Just relax, OK! So, here comes the story…
One beautiful sunny day, a four-man team of forest surveyors were doing their works inside the forest. Later in the day, they were confronted by a group of Penans, for they have “intruded” their forest… Read the following dialogue (Yup, both teams were “yelling” at each other (as the dialogue is written in CAPITAL LETTERS) due to thick forest condition):
|The Penan Leader||:||S(H)IAPA KALIAN!!!? (In Indonesian accent) (Who are you!!!?)|
|The Survey Leader||:||KAMI (orang) SAVÉY! (We’re the surveyors!)|
|The Penan Leader||:||BANGSA APA?! (What race/ethnic group (do you belongs to)?!)|
|The Survey Leader||:||DUA IBAN; DUA MELANAU! (Two (of us are) Ibans; (another) two (are) Melanaus!)|
|The Penan Leader||:||O-o-o, Melanau… Di bawah tanggungan Taéb Mah-mud…!!! (in soft, “satirical” tone) (I see… The Melanaus… Well taken care of by Taéb Mah-mud…!!!)|
I guess that, whenever my Melanau readers read this kind of joke, I’m pretty sure that they’ll disagree that the Melanaus are being well taken care of by the current Chief Minister, who is a Melanau. Even my Melanau friends are also disagree, as most of them also dislike the state gomen of the day!
So, are we saying that the Dayaks are doing well in areas such as education and business – after joining Malaysia Federation since September 16, 1963?
We have heard cries in the rural areas asking for basic infrastructure/amenities such as (good quality) public roads, schools, health centers, etc. And we even heard a weird request made by a blogger not so long ago that the two Scorpene subs should be brought to Sarawak to ply the mighty Rejang River – to and fro – Sibu (Song, Kanowit) and Kapit towns (I’m not sure about Belaga town, as I haven’t been there), as there is no road have been built to link Kapit with the rest of other areas within Sarawak!
By and large, all Sarawakians – regardless of their race/ethnicity – are living together harmoniously, especially in urban areas. Is that so or is it just “you-you; I-I” attitude?
Anyway, there is no racial tension reported so far and it seems that all creatures – human beings and beasts alike – are all doing fine, I guess!
* I’m going to quote part of the text (verbatim) from my previous paper assignment (December 2008):
Sarawak economy is one of the fast growing economies within the federated states of Malaysia. Blessed with multiple natural resources such as timber, oil and gas, palm oil and coal (including massive network of river system), Sarawak has achieved an average Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 5.4% compared to Malaysia’s average Real GDP at 5.7% for the past three years (2005 – 2007) (SPU, 2007). Between 2005 – 2006, the state netted an average revenue of RM57 million from export of commodities, with liquefied natural gas contributed the biggest earning (39%), followed by petroleum and petroleum products (31%), timber and timber products (14%), agricultural products (5%), urea and ammonia (1%) and other products (10%) (Mohd Hinri, 2007).
Apart from the proposed dams, the mining of coal in the Sarawak interior (e.g. Lower Balingian in Mukah and Nanga Merit in Kapit, which has NCR to native land) also devastates the natural setting of the environment (including soil, water and noise pollutions), as these mines employed open-cast method (Lim, 2007; PanGlobal Berhad, 2008). In fact, it has been observed that the state government is now gearing up its effort to build access roads into the interior to exploit these coal reserves for its coal fired power plants (including export (PanGlobal Berhad, 2008)). In addition, the native lands with limestone reserves are also not spared from being exploited.
Lim, E. 2007. Benefits and issues of open-cut coal mining on the socio-economic environment: The Iban community in Mukah, Sarawak, Malaysia. PWASET 21: 249 – 251 (http://www.waset.org/pwaset/v19/v19-46.pdf)
Mohd Hinri, A. 2007. Chain of Custody for Timber Products Exported from Sarawak. A paper presented in Yokohama, Japan, December 3, 2007. 52 p. (http://www.goho-wood.jp/event/event5/a6.pdf)
PanGlobal Berhad. 2008. PanGlobal Berhad: Energy. 3 p. (http://home.panglobal.com.my/servlets/sfs;jsessionid=1FEF928F97B9819AF562CCF0EA71798B?s=0LbMZtYzxWaz8fznYvL&t=/contentManager/selectCatalog&i=1099900778076&b=1099900778076&l=0&e=UTF-8&ParentID=1101108773489&intro=1&CustomerID=0&startRow=0&active=no)
SPU. 2007. Sarawak Facts and Figures 2007. State Planning Unit, Chief Minister’s Department, Kuching, Sarawak. 43 p. (http://www.spu.sarawak.gov.my/pdf/135.pdf)
** The State Planning Unit (SPU) publications (the annual “Sarawak Facts and Figures“) can be accessed at http://www.spu.sarawak.gov.my/en/publications/