I have been in Sarawak for the past five days as I attended the ToastMasters International District Convention in Miri and then went to the Mulu Caves for two days.
Reading the local newspapers, I notice that the local BN politicians are very upset that the BN lost in the Sibu by election.
Perhaps they are upset that the state elections now have to be set back.
Sarawak is quite different from Peninsula Malaysia as the majority of the folks here are Christians, mainly the SIB church. In Miri, the church has an impressive building on top of Canada Hill, the place where the first oil well was discovered in Miri, the town that was founded on oil.
Back to the local politics - in yesterday's Sarawak Tribune, James Masing of Parti Rakyak Sarawak is quoted as saying:
"When our forefathers of various social backgrounds created this nation, they understood the social holy grounds on which only certain groups may occupy (which has led to)Malaysia being peaceful for the past 50 years because of our mutual acknowledgement and respect".
The half page article had the headline on the front page:
"Don't push us" across the width of the paper.
I also visited the Mulu Caves on Tuesday for two nights and during the visit, we stopped by a Penan village on the river. The boatmen provided the tour services to and from the National Park and they made a 20-minute stop in their village to buy souvenirs.
The locally made products were hand-made but not so marketable and so not many people bought anything.
The most shocking thing about the village is that there is no infrastructure for proper electricity and water.
They used shared generator and water from the river for washing and cleaning. Some potable drinking water is provided by the national park HQ.
I guess the Minister of Land Development wants the Penan and other natives of Sarawak to retain their original condition so that tourists can come and see them in their original condition.
Sarawak is a land of plenty but it seems that the original folks have been sidelined by the ruling politicians.