By Karen Bong
KANOWIT, Jan 20: The Sarawak government will establish a Ngemah-Kanowit Development Area to give special focus to the agricultural and economic development of the people of Kanowit.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced that the area will be established under Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA).
“Kanowit MP Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang told me that Kanowit has sufficient land and area but they are not fully developed and optimised.
“As such, under URDA, we will establish an area specifically to develop agriculture and economy of the people of Kanowit known as Ngemah-Kanowit Development Area,” he said at the launching of GPS Kanowit District Zone 11B Roadshow at Market Baru here today.
Abang Johari also gave his assurance that funding for the development will be forthcoming as long as Gabungan Party Sarawak (GPS) continues to lead Sarawak.
“With the construction of Ngungun-Jagau road ongoing, we will put the infrastructure in place including water and electricity supply, develop the land including Native Customary Rights (NCR) as well as commercial agriculture.
“There is no point to develop the land when there is no electricity and water. So we will bring the infrastructure. This will help to improve the income and standard of living of people in Kanowit,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the Kanowit district had a bright future after the state government via GPS had approved several infrastructure projects and so on for the convenience of its residents.
The projects he also launched were Ngungun-Jagau Road, Gremai Road, Machan Bridge, Kanowit Substation, Rajang Riverbank, Kanowit Riverbank, Agriculture Substation Machan, Fort Emma, Kanowit Ferry, NDA and Water Supply Kanowit Phase II.
Abang Johari explained that Recoda was divided into three zones, in order to give focus on charting and implementing the development plan for the regional areas of upper Rajang, northern Sarawak and highland area.
“With regional development area, we can allocate funding to specific areas. Before the change in government, we had plans for various development including Pan Borneo and roads to Kapit under previous administration.
“But now things are different as some people are being ‘buruk siku’ (taking back what has been given),” he said, in reference to the federal government.
“So now, we continue the efforts and initiatives through URDA. We develop roads as well as water and electricity supply,” he added.
As the government continues to improve and strengthen Sarawak’s financial position, Abang Johari who is also GPS chairman, said a strong revenue growth would enable the government to give back to the people.
He pointed out that it was with a strong revenue that the GPS government could help alleviate some of the people’s burdens which was demonstrated under Budget 2020 through providing free electricity connection charges up to RM5,000, subsidising 70 per cent of the cost of new connections costing RM5,000 to RM10,000, and free water for the first RM5 of the monthly bill.
“I know how to raise our revenue. There are a lot of areas for us to increase our revenue,” said.
“They (certain quarters from federal) think we don’t have the fund (for development projects) but I have a new and own financing model under GPS to raise the funds to develop rural areas,” he added, pointing out that Sarawakians were not fools.
Abang Johari emphasised that Sarawak would use its the ‘Sarawak mould’ to bring all developments needed to transform and equip the state especially the rural areas including embracing advanced technology in its processes.
“We have a very good future. Our land are good with fertile soil from Kanowit right up to northern Sarawak, except for southern part with a lot of peat areas.
“The future of Kanowit is bright like the weather today. GPS will also be bright and continue to fight for Sarawakians. Sarawak first,” he added. —DayakDaily