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KUCHING, Oct 21: The backward state of infrastructure such as roads and bridges in Bawang Assan is the result of decades of negligence, claims Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development Tan Sri Dr James Jamut Masing.
He asserted that the claims by the opposition, especially Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) that Bawang Assan has a road network which is 90 per cent tar-sealed is an understatement of the dire need for proper and systematic development for the semi-urban constituency where the natives, especially the Ibans, make up about 40 per cent of the total electorate.
“On the contrary to what the opposition especially PSB has claimed, the truth is, there is no proper road network in Bawang Assan except for the ‘ladang sawit’ (oil palm plantation) road.
“The only other road was built by (former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred) Jabu (Numpang) when he was the Minister of Infrastructure Development more than a decade ago.
“As for most of the people from the longhouses and villagers near Igan Bridge, they have to depend on river transport to go to Sibu.
“So the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government has approved RMRM304 million to build the much needed road connectivity in Bawang Assan in the next few years.”
A statement reported Masing as saying this at Rh Augustine Meringai, Bawang Assan yesterday.
He added that under Package A, a total of RM104 million has been approved to build roads to connect the longhouses from Batang Igan Bridge to Sibu which will provide the much needed road connectivity from Jemoreng to Bawang Assan.
“And once Package A is completed, then we will implement Package B which will cost RM200 million more.
“Once both Package A and Package B are completed in the next four years, Bawang Assan will be well connected with a proper road system to Sibu and coastal areas such as Jemoreng,” added Masing.
On a related issue, Masing who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president hoped other GPS component parties will strategise on how best to defend GPS’ policies and at the same time, go on the offensive.
Meanwhile, he also expressed hope that Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) will assist the natives in their respective constituencies especially in Bawang Assan to ensure that it will no longer be left behind in terms of infrastructure development especially roads.
Bawang Assan has been represented by PSB president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh as its assemblyman since 1991. — DayakDaily