Saturday, 23 November 2013

Walk a mile in their shoes

Dennis Ngau
BN rep challenges opposition leaders to leave city life, stay with natives in the jungle before championing their cause

KUCHING: A government backbencher has challenged opposition leaders to stay with the Penans or other natives in the jungle since they believe life in the interior is like the Garden of Eden.

Dennis Ngau (BN-Telang Usan) said they should stay in the jungle for at least a month before asking the natives to resist development projects, particularly the proposed Baram hydroelectric dam project.

In his State Budget 2014 debate speech, Ngau said he was upset that some opposition leaders even told the whole world that the government should not built the dam as it would submerge the jungles that are `supermarkets’ to the natives – where food and daily supplies are easily available.

“I hope the Member for Kidurong (Chiew Chiu Sing) could enlighten this assembly which `Supermarket’ will be having Christmas sale soon because I want to invite him to go for shopping!”

Ngau said the reality is that life in the rural areas was tough and a lot of development was still needed.

He added that the opposition’s portrayal of the life in the interior being good were all lies as attested by the number of calls for help from the natives wherever he went in his constituency.

Recently, for instance, he said he received a short messaging service (SMS) about some Penans wanting to pull out of UiTM Kota Samarahan due to financial problems.

“Isn’t that happening due to poor living conditions and no steady income at home in the jungle?”

Ngau said he believed most people in Baram were ready for the dam project as they knew it is a great opportunity for a much better tomorrow.

On the recent appearance of several Penans demonstrating in Kuala Lumpur against the dam project, Ngau said they were made to look sad, dejected and victimised just to attract sympathy to achieve the opposition’s agendas.

“But sooner or later, these poor Penans will return to Sarawak and travel back to their settlement again to the same empty kitchen, poor living conditions and nothing new in their life.

“My biggest worry is that these people might just be used as tools to gain sympathy and, to a certain extent, asking the people to donate to their so-called struggle. To me this is unfair as the good intention of the government to bring development and a better life will not be experienced by some in their life time due to instigation by certain individuals or groups who care nothing for this poor people.”

Ngau said he was glad to note that the state government was not giving up and was going ahead with its plan to develop Baram.

“Whatever the level of protest being carried out against development projects, we are very sure that the people will soon realise that these projects will only bring benefits to the local and the state as a whole. Time will tell. - theborneopost

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