By Joseph Tawie
SARIKEI: Former councillor of Parti Rakyat Sarawak Joseph Allen has slammed SUPP leaders for neglecting the interests of Bumiputeras in their constituencies.
“Look at longhouses and villages under their constituencies in Pelawan, Bawang Assan and Dudong in Sibu, Sarikei and Bintangor: many of them have no clean water, electricity and proper roads compared with Chinese areas under their control,” Allen said.
“Clearly the interests of Bumiputeras have been neglected,” he said, adding that SUPP (Sarawak United People's Party) paid only “lip service” to the Bumiputeras.
Allen was commenting on the proposed meeting between SUPP leaders and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
The SUPP leaders want Najib to exert pressure on Chief Minister Taib Mahmud to give equal opportunities to the Chinese community in business, contracts, employment in the civil service, scholarships and places in institutions of higher education if the Barisan Nasional leaders want to see the party doing well in the coming election.
“I am surprised to hear that SUPP is asking for equal opportunities business, tenders and government contractors. After the Ming Court affair in 1987, SUPP was given everything,” he said.
(The Ming Court affair refers to group of rebel state ministers and assistant ministers who plotted to topple Taib by moving a vote of no confidence in the state legislative assembly. The plotters met at the Ming Court (now Corus Hotel) in 1987 to hatch their plan but Taib retaliated by the dissolving the state assembly. He won in the fresh polls.)
“Who owns Class A and Class B licences? And who are being awarded big projects, given timber concessions and given provisional leases to plant oil palm in native customary rights land? Who are the millionaires and billionaires in the state?” Allen asked.
Allen, who is a contractor himself, alleged that Bumiputeras who own class F licence can only get government projects if they promise to sub-contract such projects to Chinese contractors, because the majority of the Bumiputera contractors do not have capital.
“This arrangement is being done in Sarikei, Bintangor, Sibu, and I am sure in other towns often with the full knowledge of certain authorities,” said Allen, who is being dubbed the “Ibrahim Ali” of the Dayak community.
Said Allen: “What SUPP leaders are seeking are projects for their cronies. The fight now is between their cronies and cronies of Taib. They are meeting and asking the prime minister to pressure Taib to give them some of the projects.
“They are not doing it for the ordinary Chinese,” he added.