KUCHING, July 1: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has assured the Bidayuh community in Bau that he would give them the much needed infrastructure due to growing activities in their neighbourhood.
He told the Bidayuhs that he could hear their voices and pleas for help because they had remained united.
“I realise we have some shortages and weaknesses in this area. One of it is the lack of a telecommunications tower for mobile services. I can assure you that the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) will work with you to put up the proposed telecommunications tower so that you will have Internet line,” he said.
Abang Johari said this in response to Redeems president Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie’s request for a telecommunication tower to be built at Redeems Centre to provide mobile services to the people in surrounding areas.
In his speech, Nansian said the people around Singai, near the Redeems Centre, had been complaining about the lack of mobile networks even though the state had been talking about the digital economy transformation.
Abang Johari said Sarawak could not rely on the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) as the state had its own SMA.
“This will be done, and I hope (Deputy State Secretary (Rural Transformation)) Datu Jaul Sameon would take note so that we can build a telecommunications tower here and everyone can be linked to each other and tourists can use Sarawak Pay to pay for services provided by Redeems.”
On another infrastructure initiative, Abang Johari announced a RM20 million allocation to build a water treatment plant to meet the demand for more treated water by the increasing population in Bau.
He said the RM20 million was from the RM100 million he had announced before to upgrade the delivery of treated water supply around Bau, Lundu and Sematan.
“But for Bau, it needs its own water treatment plant. We don’t have to wait for Putrajaya to give the money. We (state government) will use our own funds for Bau to have this water treatment plant. Perhaps, plus the piping works, it could total up to more than RM30 million. I am using our state funds to provide this infrastructure,” he explained.
Nansian also voiced out the need for Bau to have a centralised child care and learning centre as well as a new Community-based Rehabilitation Centre (PDK) because currently the existing buildings of both centres were dilapidated and could not meet current demand.
He estimated that for the child care and learning centre, RM1.5 million would be needed to build the proposed centre at a site that had been identified.
“The rakyat here will be happy and thankful if you (Abang Johari) can assist us by approving this needed grant,” said Nansian.
As for the PDK, the current centre was squatting in a rented village house, but it was in a dire condition. As the number of students had increased to over a hundred and the owner of the house wanted to take back the house by the end of this year, Nansian said the centre needed to be relocated, hopefully to a permanent building.
He said a proposed site and plan had been drawn, and the building project would need some RM700,000 to be built.
Abang Johari assured Nansian that the state government would provide the needed grants as soon as it had funds available, particularly from its oil and gas income.
“To Nansian, don’t worry. The moment I get money from Petronas, I will give to you because it is for the development of the community.
“The moment we are united, we have the say and the voice, then we just plan our development and try to use whatever resources we have and whatever rights we have for the people,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily