Thanks but no thanks, GST

Tuesday 29 March, 2016

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On today’s show, we are chasing the big issues affecting the elections and there is none bigger than that small collection of letters, GST. Najib seems to think that after 50 years of oil revenues pumping out of Sarawak, we should be grateful that an additional tax levied on the population is finally going to pay for some long-promised roads. Strangely, our listeners don’t seem to agree. We speak first to Dennis Along of PKR who are organizing a convoy around 6 constituencies – Lambir, Bekenu, Marudi, Telang Usan, Mulu and Murum. The theme? Down with GST! Then Lelayang Lemai of Niah and Stephen of Kapit both have their say. Lelayang tells us how young voters in his area are totally turned off politics and he takes it upon himself to show how politics affects their lives. GST, of course, is one prime example as we are asked to pay more and more for less and less. Then Stephen goes straight after Najib for saying that they are paying GST so that they can have a road from Kapit to Kanowit. Quite the contrary, he says. If it was just about the road, then why not anytime in the last 50 years when the going was good. They are giving us a road, he says, because they want a dam in Baleh!

Then Philip Jau of Baram Protection Action Committee shares how the people of Baram are actually celebrating at the moment. Not only was the land for the Baram dam degazetted, as we all knew, but in fact, the order came with a cancellation notice for the whole project! Philip has this in his hand and the group are holding a dinner to celebrate at the beginning of April. However, the blockade will remain in place. There are still many activities – from logging to oil palm – to monitor!

Then we speak to YB Abdullah Sani of Kuala Langat, Selangor, who gave a rousing speech at the People’s Congress over the weekend. He tells us how the Citizens’ declaration is progressing, coming soon to Sabah and Sarawak, an vital step in clearing the UMNO brain fog that is letting Najib cling to power against all logical thought. We must resist the nightly propaganda pumped out on government controlled media, he says, painting the declaration as a deal between two devils. This is for all the people, across racial, political, national and religious boundaries. Save Malaysia, he cries!

We speak to Elia Bit, PKR hopeful for Marudi, who seems to have been the target of one type or another of discrimination throughout her life – for being Penan to being a woman to being young, the list is never ending. She tells us of her struggles to overcome these attitudes.

We end with Nicholas Mujah ak Ason who answers Adenan’s astonishing claim that he cannot control the rampant logging industry because too many people would be out of a job! Either you want to safeguard the forests or you don’t! Wait any longer and the question will be redundant as the forests disappear into history entirely. Besides, the statistic of one in four Sarawakians employed in the industry or its periphery is decidedly fishy. Given figures of 240,000, that puts the Sarawak workforce at less than a million, a discrepancy made even worse by the fact that at least 50% of the workforce of the timber industry is made up of foreign labour, he says. A simple solution. Since Masing is calling for more plantation workers, why not cut them from timber and plant them in oil palm? After all, there is little more dirty, difficult and dangerous than the logging industry!

Blockade di Baram diteruskan walaupun projek empangan dibatalkan

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Photo credit: The Antdaily

Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) kembali bersiaran untuk hari ini! Program hari ini dimulakan dengan temubual bersama dengan Dennis Along yang mengikuti konvoi yang bertemakan Bantah GST yang meliputi Lambir, Bekenu, Marudi, Telang Usan, Mulu dan Murum. Adakah GST memberi kesan kepada kehidupan harian anda? Setelah setahun GST diperkenalkan banyak input negatif mengenai langkah cukai kerajaan itu. Ia tidak disalurkan dengan baik mengikuti hasil kekayaan negara yang besar dan sepatutnya mencukupi.

Sejak Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) diperkenalkan setahun yang lalu. Lelayang Lemai merupakan seorang pemuda dari Niah memberitahu kesan GST kepada beliau menyakitkan walaupun belum berkahwin – kos hidup yang semakin tinggi, adakah ramai belia akan melepasinya?

Seterusnya, Stephen dari Kapit memberitahu kita kenapa sejak akhir-akhir ini kerajaan berusaha keras untuk menyiapkan kerja membuat jalan. Rupa-rupanya, kerajaan hendak membina sebuah empangan baru di Ulu Putai. Sarawak banyak empangan tetapi rakyat luar bandar masih jauh ketinggalan.

Selepas itu, Phillip Jau yang merupakan Pengarah Baram People’s Action Committee (BPAC) memberitahu kita bahawa disamping notis pembatalan gazet ke atas tanah yang ingin diambil untuk pembinaan empangan Baram pihak kerajaan melalui Land Survei juga telah mengeluarkan notis Pembatalan/Relocation Notice Empangan Baram bertarikh 14 Januari 2016. Kedua-dua notis itu ada salinannya bersama dengan beliau. Walaupun kempen batalkan empangan Baram telah berjaya, namun kedua-dua blockade akan terus didirikan untuk memantau kegiatan pembalakan haram atau pembukaan ladang sawit secara haram.

RFS meneruskan rancangan dengan temubual bersama Ahli Parlimen Kuala Langat, Selangor menjelaskan bahawa Deklarasi Rakyat setakat ini mendapat sambutan yang amat luar biasa dan program seterusnya akan di adakan di Sarawak dan Sabah.
Sani menjelaskan program di Semenanjung Malaysia diadakan lebih kerap dan agresif disebabkan iainya bertujuan membersih otak pemimpin UMNO yang masih setia membabi buta kepada Najib sedangkan Najib sudah menyeleweng. Beliau mengingatkan rakyat supaya berwaspada dengan propaganda media umno khususnya yang bercakap siang malam mengatakan deklarasi rakyat adalah Deklarasi Mahathir-kit siang. UMNO cuba mengelirukan rakyat dengan mengatakan bahawa deklarasi ini adalah tajaan pembangkang, tetapi ia sebenarnya melangkaui batas politik,kaum bangsa dan agama.

Selepas itu, Manggang pendengar setia kita memberi komen beliau mengenai kenyataan Ketua Menteri Adenan Satem yang mengatakan rakyat Sarawak berhutang banyak dengan bekas Ketua Menteri paling lama memerintah Sarawak iaitu Abdul Taib Mahmud. Beliau berkata Taib sepatutnya yang berhutang kerana Sarawak kini merupakan negeri kedua termiskin di Malaysia. Banyak rakyat Sarawak terpaksa mencari nafkah atau rezeki di Semenanjung dan luar negara sedangkan Sarawak kaya dengan hasil bumi.

Calon potensi untuk kawasan Marudi, Elia Bit dari PKR menceritakan kepada kita mengenai diskriminasi ke atas kaum Penan yang beliau rasakan saat belajar dan sehingga kini banyak pengalaman yang beliau dapat kenangkan. Sama-sama kita mendengar temubual ini.

Akhir sekali, pengerusi SADIA HQ Nicholas Mujah memberikan kita mengenai komen Ketua Menteri Adenan Satem yang berkata satu daripada empat orang pekerja balak bakal kehilangan pekerjaan jika kerajaan mengetatkan kawalan ke atas pembalakan. Bagi Nicholas, ia merupakan satu kenyataan bercanggah kerana pekerja balak 50 peratus adalah warga asing. Jika betul mereka adalah rakyat Sarawak maka baiklah ia ditukarkan sektor pekerjaan dari pembalakan ke penanaman kelapa sawit!

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