I fully sympathise with the plight of the rural impoverished Ibans in Kapit as seen in the picture above. These Ibans live without any roads, piped water, electricity and not to mention telephones. This picture was reported just yesterday in a local daily.
Kapit is the second last town to see along the mighty Rejang River, the longest river in Sarawak. The last town in the rapids congested river nearing its source is Belaga.
Kapit was once under the jurisdictive control of Sibu which considered it as a remote outpost for undeserving civil servants. To be sent to Kapit meant to be frozen in the civil service. Sibu has its own divisional status now and so is Kapit. Yet despite its divisional status, there are no roads linking Kapit to its center ( Sibu) before and today.Strange but true. Kapit is therefore a no man's territory where the Ibans continue to live in remote jungles and rivers in hardship and abject poverty. When they live near towns there are squatters.
The main dilemma of the Ibans in Kapit is that they are being marginalised from 'the politics of development'. The politics of development merely concentrated on the coastal belt of Mukah to Bintulu. Kapit is sharing the border with Indonesia hundreds of miles from the coast. Here the Ibans will remain poor farmers, hunters and fishermen because their traditional lands or customary rights lands are snatched by the government of the day to be given to big plantation companies for reforestation and oil palm cultivation.
The natives of Kapit must rise to gross government deprivation, oppression and outright robbery of their rights. Thus in the next State General Elections slated before July 2011, the Ibans must voice their anger, frustration and deprivation by electing a new breed of politicians who fight for change.
This message is brought to you- the Ibans of Kapit and other native groups in order that you rise and fight for your traditional rights and retain your dignity as equal citizens in Sarawak.
Vote for Pakatan Rakyat in the coming Sarawak State General Elections, please.
Agi Idup, Agi Ngelaban.