Last night when Dr Jeniri Amir of Unimas speak about growing support of Sibu voters for Pakatan in Astro Awani talk show program `Focus on Sarawak’ the unthinkable thing of the swanky studio of Awani happened: the telephone line broke off and Dr Jeniri was never given another chance to continue his answers to a panel accompanying the presenter! It was as though there was some minder overseeing the program if the invited speaker step out of line! Another Dayak academic put in very diplomatic language of Dayaks being left out in employment opportunities at state and federal agencies his complaint was ignored. He went as far as to suggest that the coming state election is a referendum on the unspoken policy to keep Dayaks out of State and Federal employment opportunities.
The talk show has all the form but little of substance. The discussion which go from 1 constituency to another gave a glowing account of the state of development in all areas-to the extent that one of the panel members claim that a constituency in Kuching have to `manage its success’! Little of the negative sides of development was given any highlight. When Bengih Dam’s impact on voter sentiments was raised the answer was more of ways to manage the impact on the affected villagers. They were not said to have any right of consultation on whether to build the dam in their lands. There was no mention that Sarawak has not done any satisfactory job in re-settling the dam affected people-including the Batang Ai dam and Bakun Dam.
The focus on Sarawak is a opportunity lost to make Malaysians understand Sarawak better.