By Karen Bong
SIMUNJAN, Jan 10: A bridge to connect Gedong and Kuching is in the pipeline and when completed in three years’ time, the distance between Simunjan-Gedong-Kuching will only take 40 minutes.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that the allocations for the Gedong bridge had been approved for the Public Works Department (JKR).
“From my house to Simunjan this morning, it took one hour and 45 minutes. But with the bridge, Gedong and Simunjan will be closer and the distance from Kuching to Simunjan will not be a problem anymore.
“When completed, estimated in three years, travel time and distance will be cut short by one hour and people can get here in 40 minutes,” he said at Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA)’s Rindok Digital programme held at the Dewan Mesra here today.
With the bridge as a connector cutting travel times short, he added that more people including tourists and visitors will come to Simunjan which is famous for its fresh prawns and prawn noodles.
As such, Abang Johari gave his assurance that Sarawak would not go bankrupt with good financial management as proven in the outstanding score of ‘A-‘ given by S&P Global Ratings recently.
He highlighted that the state government under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will continue to strengthen the state’s economy with prudent policy-making and financial management.
“Some people said that Sarawak would go bankrupt in three years. But, I assure you we will not go bankrupt with good management. Sarawak got A- for our good financial management. It is claimed to be the best in the whole of Malaysia. I am not trying to self-praise but it (the rating) was given by an international organisation.
“We must manage properly and while we spend, we must also ensure there is sustainable revenue or income for Sarawak in the future,” he said.
Abang Johari also explained that the state government will pursue alternative financing initiatives through its own bank, Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS), to finance socio-economically important projects.
“People asked how did I get the funding (to implement all the big and major projects). I have my way of modern financing approach through our own bank. We will not disturb our reserves,” he added.
Reiterating that Sarawak was a responsible government with vision to ensure the state becomes advanced with high income by 2030, he said development will be focused in bringing water supply and electricity supply to all areas in Sarawak.
Among the initiatives the state government has introduced beginning this year include free water for the first RM5 of the monthly bill, free electricity connection charges up to RM5,000 and subsidising 70 per cent of the cost of new connections for water costing RM5,000 to RM10,000 while the remaining 30 per cent will be borne by the applicant.
“What I promised, I will deliver. I won’t be ‘buruk siku’ (meaning to take back something that has already been given).
“Before we talk, we must plan first. Not just promise this and that like 20 per cent (of oil royalty) or lower prices of goods once win election lah, but it seems the price of shallots is increasing drastically now. So we can start planting ‘bawang’ lah,” he jokingly criticised.
Whatever it is, Abang Johari urged Sarawakians not to let others and negativity elsewhere affect ‘our house’ (Sarawak) but it most important for people to remain united as “we manage and take good care of our house together”. —DayakDaily