By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: Despite having been an assemblyman for over 35 years and holding the second highest seat in the Sarawak state administration, Alfred Jabu Numpang is still ‘barking at the wrong tree’, claimed a former parliamentarian.
Disgusted at the way Jabu wasted ‘precious’ time during the recent Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting, former Mas Gading MP Patrick Anek Uren said Jabu is yet to act like a deputy chief minister.
“Jabu is always barking at the wrong tree and wasting his precious time.
“As DCM, he has all the powers to do as he pleases. There are more pressing issues and should correctly be placed on the shoulders of a person with the stature of a deputy chief minister.
“Surely as deputy chief minister, now for decades under Abdul Taib Mahmud (Sarawak Chief Minister) and before that under Abdul Rahman Yakub, Jabu should be able to get things done,” said Uren who is also Parti STAR vice-president.
“As DCM for so many decades, Jabu should use his good office to talk with Najib for a better share of Petronas dividend instead of the mere 5 % for Sarawak.
“And more Dayaks should be given high positions inside Petronas and contracts in that sector as well.
“Jabu should also question why contract jobs in the construction industry are only given to certain groups favoured by the BN top leadership,” he said alluding to the 5% oil royalty, the 18-point Malaysia Agreement and Sarawak perennial issue of poor roads, infrastructure and utilities.
Uren’s angst was focussed on Jabu’s 15-minute ranting in the DUN last Wednesday.
Jabu had flew into a rage and slammed the opposition DAP for ‘suppressing and oppressing’ natives.
Jabu also verbally attacked Repok assemblyman Dr Wong Hua Seh for ‘suppressing and oppressing’ the Iban language when he (Wong) had failed to call for the Iban language to be used for labeling the weedicides and pesticides.
Wong had suggested during the debate that weedicides and pesticides should be labelled with English, Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia in order to warn the farmers of the danger these pesticides posed to health.
But petty Jabu had latched on to this and raged away for 10-minutes.
Said Uren: “Why is Jabu so insisting on DAP mentioning the need for labels on pesticides to be in ‘Iban’ language? Surely as deputy chief minister, now for decades, Jabu is able to do that.
“Anyway why talk on such mundane matters in the DUN, a pure waste of time?
“On the other hand I would question Jabu why he has not dared raise important issues like the 18 point pre-Malaysia agreement, and or the mere 5% of oil revenue from Petronas.”
Dayaks in doldrums
Uren said Jabu knows that Sarawak still needs a lot of development like roads to the interior areas, including to Kapit and beyond.
“And the trunk road between Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri and beyond is now in poor state of disrepair. All these need money and more of it. Surely these are important issues” said Uren.
He also pointed out that despite almost 50 years ‘under’ Malaysia, the Dayak’s participation in economy was still negligible.
He said Dayak workers while remaining the mainstay of the state’s workforce were a neglected lot.
“For them it is just for survival. Many of them are not given EPF and or Socso contributions and benefits. And in the agriculture sector they are also mere workers in the plantation sector.
“A very small number is engaged as owners directly in, and even with very insignificant land sizes of when they are in, oil palm plantation for instance. And none in the O&G,” he said.
Uren added that it was about time that Jabu called for more shares, benefits and better positions of employment be given to Dayaks at least within the shores of Sarawak.
“The real problem is that there is no genuine concerted effort by the government, of which Jabu is a very much part of its core, to develop economies of the indigenous people,” he said.