Will Sibu ever be accorded city status that was promised?

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UNFULFILLED PROMISES: Voters in Sibu should reject BN direct candidate Wong Soon Koh for the coalition’s failure to fulfill its many promises during the last 25 years.

Since becoming an elected representative for Bawang Assan in 1991 and his subsequent appointment as a cabinet minister in 1996, the candidate had made numerous pledges.

He is 74 years old, and is the oldest candidate in this election.

He should retire from politics instead of appealing for five more years to continue as their elected representative.

Wong’s promise of making Sibu a city by the end of 2016 was the biggest joke. He is using an old lie to hoodwink the voters. Wong and the then BN Visionary Team promised to turn Sibu into a city by 2005.

But Wong and his team had failed due to the lack of political will in transforming Sibu which had remained backward especially in terms of modernisation of infrastructure, public amenities and public transport.

Ironically, Sibu has even lost its status as the second largest town in Sarawak after losing to Miri which was officially granted city status in 2005.

The same pledge was made again in August 2005 to help Sibu gain city status in 2010.

Now it is 2016 and can we expect Sibu to be made a city in just another seven months when the town still cannot fulfill the basic criteria for elevation to city status?

And what about other pledges made such as the air link between Sibu and Xiamen in 2005; direct air link between Sibu-Fozhou; establishment of a 526-acre Swan City Garden; transformation of the old Sibu Town Hall to a modern opera house; setting up of an agricultural wholesale market at Oya Road; a botanical garden, and beautification of Rajang Esplanade costing RM15 million?

On the other hand, elected DAP representatives had played an effective role in the state legislative assembly and Parliament by carrying out checks and balances as well as proposing many initiatives and proposals which were beneficial to the people.

We carried out a successful signature campaign to call for the abolishment of the Lanang toll which eventually resulted in the Adenan administration waiving the toll in April last year.

We also fight for better infrastructure, systematic allocation of funds for Chinese education, flood mitigation and many other issues which affect the people.

On the issue of state autonomy, it is under BN’s rule that Sarawak lost many of its rights in the 1970s.

Now Wong and Chief Minister Adenan Satem always talk about fighting for Sarawak autonomy and fighting to reinstate Sarawak rights which had been taken away under their watch. Sarawak BN is just playing to the tune of Umno and it is therefore not even entitled to talk about Sarawak autonomy.

Yap Hoi Liong is Sarawak DAP assistant secretary

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