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A sigh of relief for Belaga folk
Posted on : 28 Dec 2017  Source of News: The Borneo Post Online

A sigh of relief for Belaga folk

December 28, 2017, Thursday Yunus Yussop,

CM approves RM50 mln for upgrading of Belaga-Menjawah road, pledges more devt fund

Abang Johari shakes hands with the locals on his arrival at Belaga community hall.

BELAGA: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday announced the immediate approval of RM50 million for the first phase of upgrading of the Belaga-Menjawah road.

The Chief Minister made the announcement when addressing the people at a Christmas gathering in the Belaga community hall.

The Public Works Department (PWD) has estimated the total cost for the improvement and upgrading of the 38km road that was built by the army under its Jiwa Murni programme in 2014 to be RM86 million.

In his speech, the Chief Minister stressed that as a matter of policy all future Jiwa Murni roads must be converted to PWD R1 standard road one year after completion and the state government must be consulted on such road projects in the future.

On the balance of RM36 million, he said it would be made available later as a long-term and systematic bid to improve road connectivity in the district.

“I will come down to Belaga in September next year for the inspection, so hopefully the road will be completed by that time,” he said.

He hoped with the upgrading of the road, the people in Belaga would no longer be disconnected from the outside world as what recently happened when slope failures affected 35 locations along the Belaga-Menjawah road.

Soon upon arrival, the Chief Minister was briefed on the current conditions of the Belaga-Menjawah road and the state of repairs at the various sections of the road that were damaged by floodwater and landslides and other technical recommendations such as to raise Sg. Belaga bridge to at least one metre above the highest flood level by PWD officials.

“Belaga must be developed in a systematic manner and we have long term plans for Belaga and we will continue our development agenda under Barisan Nasional,” he said.

On the RM86-million allocation, he said it is the state government’s long-term plan in providing good road connectivity to the people in Belaga.

On a related matter, he said an important ingredient for development is it must be in accordance with the people’s taste and their needs. He reiterated his commitment to bring equal growth to the rural areas as emphasised by his predecessor the late Pehin Sri Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

In addition, he said he would focus on providing high speed internet connectivity in the rural areas.

“In Belaga there are many hills, maybe we will use cloud computing, micro satellite and other new ways for hilly areas to find the signal, it might take time but first our priority is the road,” he added.

He thanked the people for their tremendous response to his first visit here since becoming Chief Minister.

He pointed out that his visit was out of the desire to view first-hand the problem of connectivity in the district and how it can be solved for the long term.

“I am very much aware of the communication problem here,” he said, adding that Belaga District needs a systematic development plan to overcome the issues.

On the issue of management of manmade lakes in hydro dams, he said he would table a motion at the State Legislative Assembly next year to pave the way for systematic development of these lakes primarily as tourism assets.

“Now that Sarawak has full control of the dams including Bakun dam that was acquired from the federal government earlier this year, the state is able to manage these lakes and the hundreds of islands which have good potentials as tourist attraction,” he added.

At the same time, Abang Johari called on all people regardless of their race and religion to be united, saying it is only with good understanding among themselves that the people would be able to live in peace and harmony which augurs well for rapid development of the state.

He also stressed on the importance of education for the young generation as an important asset to drive Sarawak towards new technological era.

In another development, he said compensation for flood victims in Belaga would be coordinated by Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

“I will let Liwan to further discuss it with Uggah, to look into specific areas on what to be replaced,” said Abang Johari.

Also present were Acting State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion, Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation permanent secretary Datu Safri Zainuddin, State Planning Unit director Datu Abu Bakar Marzuki, Hulu Rajang member of Parliament Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong, Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon and Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong.