(Bintulu, Wednesday): There are at least ten reasons why the voters of Bintulu should vote for the DAP and the DAP candidate, Wong Sing Ai, in the Kidurong by-election this weekend.
1. Be the voice of all Sarawakians and all Malaysians to express their frustrations and unhappiness at the triple crisis faced by the state and the country – the haze disaster which has been described as a global environmental catastrophe,causing not only enormous damage to the economy and the environment, but the health of the people, particularly the young generation of Malaysians; and the currency and the stock market collapse. The 1998 Budget has failed to address the currency and stock market collapse, as since the Budget last Friday, the KLSE Composite Index has fallen by some 70 points; while the ringgit continued to slide against the US dollar and is reaching its lowest level in 25 years.
2. Speak up for all Sarawakians to demand that Indonesia should compensate Sarawak for the losses they had suffered as a result of the haze disaster caused primarily by the raging thousands of forest and plantation fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan. During the 10-day haze emergency in the state, Sarawak suffered losses of RM100 million a day, or RM1 billion in ten days. Let the people of Kidurong send out a clear signal on behalf of all Sarawakians that they want the Federal Government to submit a bill of compensation to the Indonesian government for compensation for the haze emergency.
3. Express the displeasure of all Sarawakians at the irresponsible conduct of the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Taib Mahmud, in running away from the state at the height of the haze emergency when he should be with all Sarawakians to provide leadership and guidance in the worst environmental disaster in Sarawak history and to demand that he give a full and satisfactory explanation of his overseas trips during the haze emergency.
4. Condemn the dirty electoral tactics in threatening DAP candidate Wong Sin Ai with death if he does not withdraw as a candidate in the by-election by sending him a warning symbolised by four bullets.
5. Protest against the unfair and undemocratic ceramah restrictions during the Kidurong by-election, which had clearly been instigated by SUPP – which is a highly retrogressive step, which had never happened in Sarawak or other parts of Malaysia. In this way, the people of Kidurong would be demonstrating their support for greater democratisation in Sarawak and Malaysia.
6. Demonstrate that the people want both development as well as democracy, by holding that development is a fundamental right of the people and the duty of the government, and it should not be used as a election bait to influence votes.
7. Send out a clear signal that Sarawak should be a model state for a clean, honest and incorrupt government for all states, by creating a new political culture in politics and public administration with zero tolerance for corruption, where top political leaders are required to declare their assets as well as whether they have Swiss bank accounts.
8. Strike a blow for press freedom and demonstrate their disapproval of the SUPP attack on press freedom after the Sarawak state general elections in September last year, in instigating the Sarawak State Government to boycott the See Hua Group of newspapers.
9. Express a vote of no confidence in the the government handling of the Coxsackie B Virus epidemic a few months ago, which led to 30 deaths in the state, and demand a full scale inquiry into the government attitude, approach and conduct during the epidemic.
10. Vote against land acquisition abuses, whether by the Sarawak State Government or the Bintulu Development Authority, whether affecting land in the Bintulu vicinity or Native Customary Rights (NCR) land of the Iban community and to demand a halt to such abuses so that there could be a full review of the state land policy on acquisition allowing Sarawakians a full say in the enactment of a new land policy which is fair to all Sarawakians.