Wong Ho Leng, the Sarawak State Assembly representative for Bukit Assek near Sibu have voiced the plight and dilemma of the Ibans in Sarawak during the DUN sitting on Thursday, 20the May.
The dilemma faced by the Ibans here is that they have to compete with foreign workers ( principally the Indonesians) for RM 12 a day working in oil palm plantations. According to Wong a wage of RM 12 offered by the companies ( majority are Peninsular based) cannot make the Ibans meet their daily living expenses. This has made the Ibans under the present Sarawak State Barisan Nasional Governmnet become the poorest of all the native groups in Malaysia.
Furthermore according to him their native customary lands have been taken away from them and thus they cannot even self-employ themselves on their own traditional or customary rights lands.
The Ibans must take heed of what Wong said. The next State General Election is the best way to vote out the present government so that the Ibans future will be different and better addressed. Currently the land issues in Sarawak is a very hot issue because the Sarawak government moves to give away traditional lands of the Ibans and other natives to big plantation companies under the excuse that they have no titles are unstoppable by law. Historically these lands were delivered from generations to generations without any titles.
It is speculated that the coming General Elections in Sarawak slated before July 2011 will be a showdown of the natives peoples fight against marginalisation, deprivation and ouright robbery of their lands by the Sarawak State government. The Ibans and other native groups of Sarawak ( Orang Ulu, Kedayan, Melanau, Malay, Bidayuhs etc) will now have a platform to fight in the form of an alternative front composing of DAP, PAS and PKR. If the recent Sibu Parliamentary By-Elections is to go by, the chances of a political tsunami is there provided the alternative opposition front brings their act together.