By Agnes Padan
DESPITE the recent political upheaval and challenges faced by Sarawak PKR this weekend, we also see this as an opportunity for the party to cleanse all negative elements and to embrace once again the real reform agenda, which was the solid foundation upon which our party was built 21 years ago.
Sarawak PKR Women rejects corrupt money politics in its entirety. We believe in justice, truth, democratic reform and the rule of law.
Unfortunately, a year ago, the backdoor Perikatan Nasional government’s political coup d’état brought down a democratically elected government that was multiracial, inclusive and rakyat focused, replacing it with a group of self-serving, cowardly, corrupt politicians, only interested in their own political advancement and enrichment.
Malaysians have lived through a year of turmoil with the Covid-19 pandemic having a serious impact on the health of our families, the education of our children and our rapidly downward spiralling economy.
The Pakatan Harapan government had a multiracial government cabinet with many women leaders including a woman deputy prime minister who was compassionate, hardworking and rakyat focused.
In place of this, we now have a lazy and over-bloated cabinet full of male ministers jockeying for positions, being paid fat salaries and GLC directorships to do nothing. The sheer incompetence of the PN government cabinet in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy and welfare of the rakyat has been staggering.
In Sarawak, over half of those living in rural communities have no access to digital connectivity, cannot access any government assistance or support programs and are now living hand to mouth. Many critically ill Sarawakian patients have been cut off from specialist services, unable to travel 4-5 hours to the nearest tertiary centre for emergency or specialist care.
The last 12 months have shown how vulnerable our communities in Sarawak are – with inadequate access to healthcare, education, safe roads, clean water, electricity, digital connectivity and economic development that condemn them to the grinding hardcore poverty.
Sarawak is amongst the richest and most beautiful states in Malaysia and one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet, yet its people are grossly neglected, living hand to mouth like beggars in their own land, whilst being cheated by corrupt politicians who, instead of serving the people, are living in grotesque luxury from the spoils of their ill-gotten wealth.
For some of us in Sarawak, we truly feel like we are living in a disaster zone.
GPS and PN have completely failed the rakyat in many areas and it has been up to NGOs and PKR Women’s wing and PKR activists to provide food aid, medical advocacy and welfare assistance to these communities.
We are doing the work of the government – but without a government budget or resources. These challenges, however, have only strengthened our resolve to keep going to the ground to show true compassion and solidarity with the rakyat. We are with the rakyat each and every step of the way.
As the Sarawak PKR Women’s chief, I will continue to empower my party to continue with their good work in their respective constituencies. PKR is about serving the people and championing their right to justice, healthcare empowerment, education and sustainable development, as well as economic and social transformation.
Now more than ever, it is vital that we go back to our roots and remember the reason we began this people power movement and journey in the first place – to bring down corruption and tyranny and ensure reform, truth, equality and justice for all.
AGNES PADAN is Sarawak PKR Women’s chief.
This letter first appeared in Malaysiakini