Transforming Sarawak is my vision said the Ba’Kelalan state assemblyperson, Baru Bian, in an interview with CJMY recently.
He also said that other pressing issues in Sarawak are the NCR (Native Communal Rights) land issue and the unfulfilled 18-point agreement by the federal government.
“It is worsening today as the state government is taking away native lands without any compensation and leasing to companies in Sarawak or outside Sarawak. Notwithstanding the decisions by the High Court in 2001, this has given wider and clear definition of NCR, the state government still refused and denying the natives of their ancestral lands,” said Baru.
Under the 18-point agreement with the Federation of Malaya in 1963, 3 main points still unfulfilled. The first one is the 10% of the civil service in Sarawak must be headed by a local Sarawakian; two, the number of seats for Sarawak in the parliamentary constituency is still not allocated fairly especially after Singapore withdrew from the Federation of Malaya.
The last and major point, which is still outstanding, is the number of scholarships allocated to Sarawakian which is still not accorded equitably. Neither is the fair number of Sarawakians sent as ambassadors overseas.
It is very disheartening that although Sarawak is part of Malaysia, it is lagging very far behind in terms of development. This is due to corruption by leaders in the state or mismanagement.
“Since my high school days I had the ambition to be a lawyer. There is a need for professional lawyers to help the natives on their land rights. Since 1990 till today, I had been handling 200 cases relating to native land rights. I won some cases. I wanted a quicker way to resolve the NCR issue for the natives,” said Baru when asked why he joined politics.
He was convinced that a case filed through judiciary system could take up to ten years which is too long. He believed that with political powers, he could make or change policies to resolve issues such as NCR.
Even a case is won after ten years, the stolen land by the state government from the natives through bribery and leased to corporations for oil palm for example would have harvested and made tons of money. The land would have been exploited by then.
According to Baru, he hopes to bring in good governance and transparency as well as justice for all Sarawakians which they had denied for so long.
“They deserve a flourishing economy and prosperity in a state with plentiful of natural resources and human capital,” he said.