FMT Staff
 | January 17, 2012 
In the Sarawak election last year, Radio Free Sarawak's Iban broadcasts gave the opposition much leverage.
KUCHING: Lone wolf broadcasterRadio Free Sarawak (RFS) kicks off this evening with a new format and the state’s “best known” Iban-speaking presenter Christina Suntai.
RFS is a small outfit, broadcasting out of the United Kingdom in defiance of Sarawak’s licensing authorities
Broadcasting over shortwave 15420kHz from 6pm this evening, RFS will also boast three more high-profile personalities on air – Michael Ngau, Stanley Rentap and Kaka Burung Tiong.
Together with the station’s pioneer deejay Peter John Jaban, they will be offering more interactive dialogue session with listeners.
Said RFS London-based founder Clare Rewcastle Brown: “The station is limbering into ‘election gear’ with a new emphasis on interactive dialogue with listeners.
“It is important, particularly during an election period, for listeners to the show to be able to contact us directly with their problems and issues and to give us their views and opinions.”
According to Rewcastle Brown, the most important part of the station’s remit is its commitment to airing the voices of the people themselves.
“There are, of course, the interviews and debates with politicians and experts, but each day the show takes care to try and reach out to locals facing the issues on the ground.
“It is important that these people feel empowered to speak out and become part of the national debate,” she said, adding that it was also important for listeners to realise that people like them also have a voice that ought to be listened to.
Launched early last year, RFS has been credited for the historic wins by the opposition in the state’s April 2011 election.
RFS popular with opposition
The opposition won an unprecedented 16 seats in the State Legislative Assembly. DAP won 13 seats while PKR wrested three. Previously, the opposition had held eight seats against BN’s 63.
But, more importantly, the opposition had made startling inroads into Iban turf, once considered sacred to BN.
Although the BN coalition held onto its crucial two-thirds majority, some observers opined that it was the most crucial test for the BN since the 2008 general election when the opposition seized a third of parliamentary seats and threatened the BNs half-century grip on power.
Rewcastle Brown, who is also the founder-editor of an online investigative portal Sarawak Report which incidentally blew open the lid on Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s billions of US-dollars worth of wealth and business networks, said the RFS had been and is an important vehicle for the opposition parties who were largely ignored by the BN-biased local media.
“For the past 30 years and more, Sarawak has been run by a corrupt political elite, who was only thinking of lining its own pockets.
“The indigenous peoples have been left behind on health, education and basic amenities of life.
“They have received no benefits from the deforestation of their lands and the destruction of the environment to grow oil palm. These issues deserved to be raised and not hidden by pro-government broadcasts,” Rewcastle Brown said in a statement.
  • Radio Free Sarawak
  • 1000-1200 UTC, SW 15420 kHz daily


Via Yimber Gaviria, Colombia

Sarawak (Jawi: el سراواك) es uno de los dos estados malayos en la isla de Borneo. Conocido como Bumi kenyalang (la Tierra de los Búceros), está situado en el noroeste de la isla. Es el estado más grande en Malasia; el segundo más grande es Sabah.
La capital administrativa es Kuching (600.300 habitantes en 2005) que literalmente significa 'al gato' (kucing). Las ciudades principales son Sibu(228.000 habitantes), Miri (282.000 habitantes) y Bintulu (152.761 habitantes). En el último censo realizado el 31 de diciembre de 2006 la población del estado era 2.357.500. Sarawak es un estado multicultural, sin una mayoría étnica, como lo es Sabah más al norte.