KUCHING, April 3 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim appears to have kicked off Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) Sarawak campaign early and has gone on the offensive by riding on the anti-Taib sentiment.The opposition leader wrote in his blog today that his message during ongoing visits in rural Sarawak was the “ruling elite” in government is raping the state of its precious resources for personal gain.
Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak’s Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Malaysia’s longest-serving chief minister, and his family, has been the target of numerous allegations of corruption and cronyism in the state.
“This is my fifth day here in Sarawak. Over the past three days I managed to explore the inner recesses, where the Ibans, Bidayuh and also the Malays live.
“The response from villagers of Riit Mawang, Tabuan Melayu and Kampung Tarat Rayang was very encouraging.
“I told them that while they live hand to mouth, their elite leaders continue to reap the state’s riches through seizing their customary land rights, distributing timber treasures and dividing up contracts among themselves,” Anwar said in his posting.
The PR de facto leader also expressed confidence that from the response he had received from the Sarawak folk since he touched down on March 29, it was clear that the electorate was ready and “brave” enough to make a change.
“The people of Sarawak can now see that Barisan Nasional is starting to become desperate.
“Their leaders had to use the law enforcement authorities to block me and my other PR leaders from giving our ceramahs and spreading the truth,” he said.
Anwar then pointed to several incidents when the police had blocked him from delivering his speech, namely Kampung Sinjan and Kampung Petingan.
“But Alhamdulilah, this will not stop the Sarawakians from listening to PR’s agenda for change,” he said.
The PR parties have agreed to split the 71 seats among themselves and local partner SNAP, which however said it contest 27 seats after talks broke down with Anwar’s PKR.
BN is confident of keeping Sarawak but PR hopes to repeat the Election 2008 political tsunami by at least denying the psychological two-thirds majority in the state legislature.
But analysts say PR will have a tough to even double its seven seats won in the 2006 state elections.