Saturday, April 16, 2011
April 15, 2011
SIBU, April 15 — An independent online survey among over 1,000 Sarawakians have found that a significant number express the wish that Sarawak should leave the federation of Malaysia and be its own sovereign country.
This was the most popular “wish” under a category of governance issues in the survey which was conducted through online social network Facebook and Twitter.
But talk of secession is considered seditious in Malaysia.
Other wishes include a corruption-free administration, separation of the judicial, executive and law-making branches of government, no politicisation of religion and total ownership of petroleum revenues.
The poll, called the “Sarawak Wish List”, was done by influential, non-partisan local youth group called the Sarawak Bloggers.
The survey was conducted from April 4 to 7 and is intended to present a collective voice to politicians ahead of the state election tomorrow.
Respondents, who were mainly young, tech-savvy Sarawakians, were asked to vote for what they considered to be the most pressing concern in Sarawak. Participants could only vote once for a concern or suggestion.
The poll garnered 3,780 votes within three days, said Eileen Foong, a member of the group.
The suggestion “Sarawak to leave Malaysia” attracted more than half of the 795 votes under the governance category. The category itself represented 21 per cent of the total votes cast.
Foong explained that the wish was rooted in the feeling that Sarawak had not prospered in tandem with the rest of Malaysia despite being one of its richest states.
“There is a feeling that many policies that do not really benefit us have been imposed on us from the peninsula, that there is a bias in terms of focus and development.
“So it’s another way of saying, because Sarawak has not really benefited from being part of Malaysia, maybe we’d be better off on our own,” she said.
“But this does not in any way mean that it’s achievable. It’s a sentiment based on frustration with how the federal government has treated Sarawak.”
Not all who were frustrated with unequal development voted to leave Malaysia however. The suggestion “faster and better development” was also a popular suggestion with 332 votes or nine per cent of total votes cast.
Overall, the biggest share of votes (22 per cent) went to a category on better road and transportation networks. This included suggestions for a public transport system, railroads and roads into every village.
Economic issues had the third largest vote pool (11 per cent) which reflected respondents’ wishes for more job opportunities, lower housing costs and lower petrol prices.
The rest of the categories comprised wishes for better education facilities such as universities and colleges and improved human rights such as titles for tribal land and total freedom of religion. Both garnered 6 per cent of total votes.
The remaining categories comprise suggestions under:
• the telecommunications category, for state-wide Wifi coverage and better mobile phone services (6 per cent)
• entertainment — local theme park, more events (5 per cent)
• forests and the environment — stop deforestation, no more dams (5 per cent)
• basic amenities — electricity and water supply for everyone (4 per cent)
• health facilities — more hospitals (3 per cent)
• reduce crime — (2 per cent)
A copy of the poll results has been handed over to some political parties contesting the election. The Sarawak Bloggers group however declined to reveal the identity of these parties.
Posted by Al Tugauw at 6:19 AM