Batang Ai rep slams Second Trunk Road detractors

Silhouettes of workers on a construction site. — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, June 1: Batang Ai assemblyman Datuk Malcolm Mussen Lamoh is perplexed at ‘senseless objections’ from the the opposition who are insisting the STR project be cancelled or put on hold.

“So much has been said about the STR (Second Trunk Road) by people of different backgrounds and upbringings where some utterance can be meaningful to one person but unintelligible to another. It has definitely created ‘halo effect’ or common bias that plays a large role in shaping our view of people and situations with the tendency to like or dislike something you’ve not observed, giving a suppressed ambiguity,” Mussen put forward in a statement.

As an elected representative under Simanggang Division, Mussen, who is also Sarawak’s Assistant Minister for Industrial Development strongly supports the implementation of another dual-carriageway road (R5 Standard) to improve the road connectivity of areas or towns.

He pointed out that the project was timely and fitting for the newly formed Sri Aman Development Authority (SADA) which was approved by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government recently.

“It would definitely enhance and promote both agricultural and economic development more effectively around the region where we can connect production areas to processing centres, markets or ports such as Tanjong Manis in the coastal areas.

“The state government had been urged to open up several areas including Sri Aman for commercial rice farming in our efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and keep rice stock for any eventuality in this volatile era of global politics. Any mechanised production of crops with the relevant machinery and modern equipment would require better accessibility and connectivity to make it viable to increase both quantity and quality of our agricultural products,” Mussen added.

He also suggested that other related infrastructure such as drainage and irrigation, and processing and collection centres be put in place at strategic locations along the road to serve local farmers and other stakeholders.

A complete cold supply chain would be feasible with bulk handling as well as trucking of perishable products for local markets and exports.

“After the completion of the STR project, it is my fervent hope that the state government will build or upgrade the existing road to connect my constituency, being part of two districts in Simanggang Division.

“With the proposed relocation of the Indonesian capital to Kalimantan, border towns such as Lubok Antu would be well-placed to be developed into international gateways for goods to facilitate border trading as well as import-export activities that would give job opportunities and economic spin-off to local communities.

“Beside tourism potential, food items such as rice, fish from aquaculture or fruits would be in great demand with the expected population boom across the border, expanding our market for such products with improved connectivity provided by the proposed road,” Mussen highlighted, adding that he felt compelled to share his perceptions, expectations and hope for the future, especially on development policies for Sarawak.

Inspired by Orison Swett Marden who quipped that ‘a strong, successful man is not the victim of his environment’, Mussen also opined that there is a need for re-thinking models comprising strategic thinking, positive thinking, creative and analytical thinking to induce change for the future. — DayakDaily