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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 5: The proposed bridges over Batang Rambungan, Batang Igan and Batang Lupar are now in the tendering process by the state Public Works Department (JKR).
These projects will be funded by the Sarawak government since the federal government claimed they are broke.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said his administration had the means to fund these projects, especially now with the imposition of a five per cent sales tax on petroleum-based products meant for the export market.
“With the sales tax, Sarawak can generate an extra revenue of at least RM3 billion, which will be used to develop the state,” he said at the launching of Fiesta Samariang near Kampung Lintang Jetty here today.
“The Batang Lupar bridge (project) was cut, Rambungan bridge (project) was also cut. In this case, we do it on our own. It is not that we want to quarrel, but we want to take care of and develop our community through the proper channel.”
The Rambungan and Igan bridge projects were supposed to be fully funded by the federal government, while the Batang Lupar bridge project was to be funded equally between the state and Putrajaya.
However, during the last State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting in November last year, Abang Johari announced that the implementation of these three bridges had been included in the State Budget.
On another matter, he said Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would continue to safeguard the rights and interests of Sarawak and its people.
“We are still in Malaysia. It does not mean we exit (the federation), but we only stressed on our rights as agreed when we formed Malaysia.
“And in line with the spirit of neighbourliness, we will take care of our relationship without neighbour (indicating Peninsular Malaysia). More importantly, we must safeguard and strengthen our unity,” he said.
Abang Johari assured that GPS, under his leadership, would continue to develop the state for the benefit of Sarawakians.
He explained that when the Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power, every decision to be made had to be based on the principle of consensus or in one voice.
“At that time, on matters concerning Sarawak, sometimes there were leaders from the other side (Peninsular Malaysia) who may not agree. So, when there was disagreement, whether you like it or not, things got postponed or forgotten.
“So, even though it is our right, but due to the principle of consensus, it was difficult to pursue (the matter). But ever since Tok Nan (former Chief Minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) took bold steps and our decision to set up GPS to govern on our own, we are able to fight and pursue many of our rights that have been eroded for many years.”
The two-day Fiesta Samariang that started today was organised by Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) Friendly Neighbourhood Group for N7 Samariang and it involved 10 Friendly Neighbourhood Area (KJM).
All kinds of activities and programmes to connect and strengthen the communities have been and will be carried out, including Samariang Walk, karaoke competition, mini sales, cooking competition, street soccer, colouring contest, flower arrangement, darts competition, health checks and mini-exhibition by various government agencies.
Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, Petra Jaya MP Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof, DBKU mayor Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai and community leaders were among those present. — DayakDaily