The upcoming Sarawak state election has grabbed our attention and the outcome could have far-reaching implications for both BN and Pakatan. Faizal S Hazis looks at the hot seats and wonders whether electoral dynamics will sway to the opposition or the BN.
The extent of poverty and income inequality in Sarawak will be major election issues. The pro-BN sarawakreports.org boasts that under CM Taib Mahmud, the poverty rate has plunged to 5.3 per cent. But Philip Khoo counters that the real figure could be much higher. Abang Benet then pronounces that capitalism in the state in its current form only considers the interests of the BN elites around Taib. If evidence is needed, just take a short trip out of town, as our correspondent SD did, and see how rural Sarawakians live – many without regular electricity, piped water and proper toilets.
P Ramakrishnan touches on another hot potato: the obstacles hindering the distribution of Malay-language bibles. Still not convinced why we should be interested in the Sarawak polls? Put it this way, if the BN loses Sarawak, they are likely to lose all of Malaysia and risk exposure of their misdeeds, writes Rama Ramanathan. More Malaysians and others must find their voice; Christopher Chong reminds us we need to reclaim the public square as a forum for responsible civil discussions.
Turning to the economy, Jeyakumar Devaraj observes that the global economy is in trouble as there just isn’t enough demand to attract industrial investment. More employers are now turning to labour outsourcing agents for workers, prompting Charles Hector to call for a restoration of a proper employer-employee relationship.