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No electricity, but old folk get laptops

 | April 13, 2012

Barisan Nasional's 'wild spending' is worrying opposition leaders in Sarawak.

KUCHING: What’s the idea of giving away 1Malaysia laptops to the illiterate elderly in rural Sarawak where more than 500,000 people have no electricity, let alone broadband?

Mocking Barisan Nasional’s laptop giveaways in the rural interior, PKR state chief Baru Bian said: “Half a million people in this state do not have access to electricity, let alone broadband. Where is the accountability of those who are entrusted with the distribution of the laptops?

“To prove the point that the distribution has nothing to do with needs but everything to do with trying to bribe the rakyat, I need only to quote a minister who said ‘distribution [of the laptops] to families was based on the population in each parliamentary constituency’.

“Why categorise the recipients so blatantly according to their parliamentary constituencies?.

“Distribution should logically be based on the need and affordability of the laptops for the population as a whole, and especially those in the lower income groups, ” he said, adding that the giveaways was yet another example of vote-buying and a “shocking waste of the rakyat’s money”.

Bian, who is the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, said the opposition parties were concerned about BN’s “wild spending”.

“It is a major concern for the opposition parties that the BN government’s wild spending of the rakyat’s money will have serious repercussions on the economy, which we will be left to deal with when we take over the government of this country,” he said.

No guidelines to distribution

Bian said he was told that the distribution of the free laptops is being carried out without proper guidelines and with no thought as to who will derive real benefit from receiving the laptops.

Although Bian did not reveal names, it is understood that the suppliers who have connections to Umno are the ones who will benefit.

“I have come across instances where laptops were given to the elderly, many of whom are illiterate and the majority of whom have no understanding at all of modern technology.

“For sure, these people are going to sell the laptops or let them gather dust in a corner of the room.

“At best, they will occupy a position of pride in the room, but will still be unused. What is the logic of giving laptops to old folk who do know how to use them?” he asked.

Bian said that he had been reliably informed that the list of recipients of the laptops is screened by BN party leaders, the only criterion being that the recipient should support BN component parties.

“Whether these people are actually in need of the laptops and will benefit from having one has no bearing on the fateful tick or cancellation on the list.

“This is a blatant victimisation of the people – something which the BN politicians seem to specialise in.

“In fact, it was related to me by a reliable source that one BN councillor, his wife and two children were the lucky recipients of four 1Malaysia laptops, one for each of them,” Bian said.


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