Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Unfair Distribution of Infrastructural Development in Sarawak

Monday, September 8

From The Broken Shield

Bulk of RM3.3 billion goes to PBB constituencies

When the prime minister announced RM3.3 billion for infrastructural development in Sarawak in his 2009 budget speech on 29 August, initial response from Sarawakians including people from Kapit was of that excitement and joy. But when full details are revealed, the people living in coastal areas, Mukah and Betong are really the beneficiaries as the bulk of the money will be expended in their areas.

The projects mentioned include roads linking Sarawak new federal administrative centre, Jalai Nanga Buai to Ulu Spak in Betong, Jalai Tanjong Assam to Saribas, Betong, Jalai Awat-Awat to Kuala Lawas, Bengoh dam in Kuching and integrated wastewater management system in Kuching. And all these areas happen to be in constituencies held by elected representatives from Parti Bersatu Bumiputra (PBB).

It is natural for the people of Kapit to be angry with the government when they find out that Kapit Division is not mentioned in the budget. After all, they have not only been loyal BN supporters, but have also been waiting for 45 years for roads to be constructed linking Kapit with other towns in the State. And they have expected something to be given to them as rewards for their loyalty. Thus, Kapit has created a record of sorts that can be included in the Malaysian Book of Records or even the Guinness Book of Records as the only town in Malaysia having no road links with other towns in the State and in Malaysia. Even Pulau Pinang has a bridge linking it with other parts of West Malaysia. (In fact the second bridge has been proposed.)

But a SUPP leader asks the people of Kapit to wait patiently and for how long? Another 45 years? And the statement from YB Yong Khoon Seng, deputy federal Minister of Works makes the people of Kapit even angrier, when he said: “The project will come, don’t worry. Just don’t jump to conclusion regarding this matter because we have already planned for the road to be constructed. But it may take some time”.

The road, he said, might be constructed (I stress the word “might”) between Kapit and Song or Kapit and Sibu, pointing out that it would be a State road with funds might (again the word “might”) come from the federal government directly or indirectly. The word “might” indicates uncertainty. Between Yong and James Masing, Masing being the State Minister should know better if there is a plan for the State to build the road to be funded by federal funds.

Considering the importance of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) and the construction of 12 dams in the State, it is likely that the federal funds will be concentrated on the development of SCORE infrastructures along the coastal areas from Bintulu to Tanjung Manis and as well as infrastructures leading to the proposed 12 dams. The possibility of Kapit being excluded in the 2010 budget and in the 10th Malaysia Plan or even the 11th Malaysia Plan is very real unless and when drastic changes take place in the country such as the formation of PR government.

By Jetty.

1 comment:

Kelebar Malam said...

I'm not tag with any political parties in Malaysia but based on my experience, I found it difficult to understand why certain ares in sarawak are not develop as it should be. talking about kapit, for example, I've been there for several occasions and seems that there is a snail move changes made to the town. Compared to the resources contributed by Kapit to the wealth of the nation or could I say to the very few rich men of Sarawak, why Kapit is still neglected. Timber has been one of the the primary source of wealth to Sarawak but yet, Kapit is still Kapit. I'm not saying that the Kapitngites should give up hope to the present ADUN of yours but voice out your dissatisfaction to them and don't fall prey to the trickiest offer made to you later as you all know by now, promise is always a damn fool promise. Convince your ADUN and MP to dare on bringing up the matter to our CM and I'm sure with the people power and the current political scenario, you'll gain the pride that you've been waiting for.