By Brad Rantayy
MIRI, Aug 28: The Sarawak government is committed to bringing electricity to every rural area and Telang Usan certainly would not be left out, disclosed its assemblyman Dennis Ngau.
He added, by the year 2021, 83 longhouses and villages within Telang Usan constituency will be electrified via the Sarawak Alternative Eural Electrification Scheme (Sares).
“As of today, more than 50 longhouses and settlements enjoy 24-hour electricity with the rest to be built in 2020 and 2021,” he revealed.
He said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has directed the Ministry of Utilities to ensure no registered longhouse or settlement will be left out of this efforts.
Dennis disclosed this during the launching of the Long Ikang Sares solar project on Tuesday (Aug 27).
“It is for this reason that the state government took decisive action to transform the state’s Ministry of Utilities to not only take care of urban electricity needs as with the previous government but as a result of the Chief Minister’s new policy since taking over in 2017 to include rural electrification,” he said.
He added, the task was supposed to be undertaken by the federal Ministry of Rural Development but the situation had become unclear since the new federal government took over.
“Rural communities know that rural electrification efforts have been facing challenges since Independence Day. Despite the previous federal government’s efforts, endless problems were faced in bringing power to rural longhouses or settlements,” Dennis said, adding this unfulfilled promise was even made a joke by the opposition then.
“But sadly since they (opposition) took control of the federal government, the matter turns into ‘worst’ and the nightmares continue.”
He highlighted the transformation exercise initiated by Abang Johari covers the total value chain for electricity supply from regulatory, framework, financing, supply and demand management to environment as well as resource management allowing the state government authority over electricity matters within the state.
“With all this transformation, we in the rural areas of Sarawak especially Telang Usan have greatly benefitted, and today is a great and clear example where you Long Ikang folks no longer need to fork out your hard earned money to buy diesel to power your generators and those who cannot afford generators no longer live under kerosene or candle lamp light,” he stressed.
Dennis added that since the state government took over and implemented all rural electrification projects, all projects were able to be completed without delay unlike earlier projects undertaken by federal government contractors.
Meanwhile, Dennis also announced that under Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) initiatives, a new telephone tower will be built at Long Ikang to give better communication access and connectivity to its residents and to nearby longhouses.
At the event, he disclosed that the Minister of Utilities Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundie Utom and the state government has agreed to his request to upgrade the power supply to each home from the current 2,000 watt per twelve hours to 3,000 watt to give more freedom to longhouse folks to enjoy better electricity supply.
Also present at the event were political secretary to the Chief Minister Charles Balan Seling, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Telang Usan Women chief Cr Margaret Nawan and about 300 people. — DayakDaily