Sarawak, (and Sabah) for us, is a different place if compared to the Peninsular of Malaysia. The sentiments here are different, and the community here is definitely different.
As a matter of fact, not many issue can create an uproar among Sarawakians, but that does not in any way mean that they are mere pushovers.
Recent clumsy mistakes by West Malaysians have indeed not gone unnoticed with the a top TV host claiming Bintulu is backwards, and an unknown, but now famous undergraduate saying Sarawakians should not blame West Malaysians for lacking of jobs because he believes Sarawakians prefer to be farmers and fishermen. This year alone, a few local papers were also found to have published articles which were written in poor taste.
It makes me wonder why they think of Sarawakians in such a bad way?
I bet it is noticeable that Sarawak is getting the lions share of attention lately. Prime Minister Najib Razak might be the first PM of Malaysia to have the most visits to Sarawak, and Sarawak is getting quite a lot of allocation lately.
The attention has given Sarawakians a chance to ask for more than they are used too, and probably Adenan Satem is right when he said ‘They are jealous’, in referring to those creating the Facebook page about anti-Sarawak sentiments.
The opposition is trying their best to court the Sarawakians with Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim and Hadi Awang making countless flights down to Sarawak towns. Each are claiming they understand and know what’s best. The promises I’ve heard and still remember reading about are that an Iban will be made a Deputy Prime Minister, more oil royalties for Sarawak, four-lane roads from Kuching to Miri, and protection of the 18-points. If you ask me, it does sound too good to be true, but I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Anyway, with all these people coming down to Sarawak, you’d expect better coverage and awareness of Sarawak in the media.
Unfortunately, with many of them still painting Sarawak as ‘an undeveloped place’, they are unknowingly helping plant that mindset that Sarawak is ‘backwards’ to the rest of the world.
With that said, I believe that if the perception of Sarawak was to change, the community leaders must first start by uttering the right words. Saying Sarawak is not developed is not helping at all, and promising the world will not bring you votes.
If you haven’t noticed, the people of Sarawak are indeed not charmed easily by promises, but rather what you have done for them, and that my friend, is why certain candidates tend to win votes.
P/S I’m tired of all these promises made about what one can do when they are in power. If you really care, do something now, even when you are not in power.