SERIAN, March 19 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the latest offensive against Pakatan Rakyat’s campaign in Sarawak with the announcement of a RM252.85 million rural infrastructure project for Serian.
This is part of the Barisan Nasional’s message to the folk of Sarawak’s interior that unlike Pakatan, the BN walks its talk with tangibles such as roads, utilities and other infrastructure to remote communities.
The project will include rural electification, clean water supply, roads and health clinic projects for 7,724 households in the district.
Earlier, the prime minister had likened the opposition to roadside medicine sellers who talk more than they can deliver.
Just like these traders of dubious charms and elixirs, Najib (picture) said the opposition was only good at selling promises which they themselves are unsure of fulfilling.
“We hear them talk… of course they sound good, but you don’t know if what they sell actually works,” he told a crowd in the centre of Serian, a majority Bidayuh town some 60km from Kuching,
Many of the people in Sarawak’s interior districts still depend on mountain streams for water so such an announcement is very welcome, say villagers in Serian.
“There are still villages where their only connection to the outside world is via small streams,” says William George Jebron, of Kampung Rayang, who felt Najib’s speech resonated with his audience.
Though Najib continued to flay Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) the party which is making the most inroads into Serian, the impact of much of his vitriol was muted.
Few people in tents set up for his speech in front of the Serian Community Hall cheered him on when he criticised PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s reluctance to hand over his DNA.
“Who’s male Y?” asked a woman to her friends when Najib brought up the moniker used to refer to the man who allegedly sodomised Anwar’s former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Neither was there much traction when Najib said PKR was haemorrhaging leaders in spite of its claim to be the lynchpin of the PR coalition.
But cheers went up when Najib announced the additional millions that would be spent on the rural electrification and water supply projects.
At one point, those seated in the front rows spoke up to remind him of the allocations he had promised on his previous trips to Sarawak.
“Yes, the allocations are there, please wait for them,” he said when responding to a query about a road project.
Some who were within earshot of his podium even thanked him for the aid he had given to their longhouse during a previous trip.
“The Opposition is only good at stirring up anger and dividing people,” Najib said.
However, Najib did not touch on the issue of native land disputes that has been the talk of the district and which residents say is the campaign plank of the PKR.
It is learnt that many Serian residents are miffed at what they claim are acts of encroachment by oil palm companies into their ancestral lands.
“They have been stirring people up against a state government project to survey ancestral land. It’s a very sensitive issue that easily sways villagers who are not very aware,” says Jebron, a farmer.
But residents are also displeased with how state government agencies have mismanaged the takeover of private land says another resident who declined to be named.
Source : Malaysian Insider