KUCHING: For the delegation of the Rajang River Basin to use military aircraft to travel to Kuala Lumpur to meet the prime minister is not an abuse of power as the military has also been helping Sarawak to build Jiwa Murni roads which have been valuable lifelines for rural communities here.
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said during the communist insurgency in the 1970s, longhouse folk in Nanga Jagau, Nanga Ngungun and Nanga Semujan left behind their longhouses and ancestral land to move to Ulu Sungai Ngemah.
“This group of people sacrificed (their homes) for the nation by leaving their ancestral land to give way to our military to get rid of the communist threat.
“Now peace has been attained. This group of people are asking to return to their homeland where their ancestors’ graves are located.
“And to return to their homeland, they need the road linkage which connects Nanga Jagau, Nanga Ngungun and Nanga Semujan to Ulu Sungai Ngemah to move their possessions.
“Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) came to visit this people, the last time in March last year. He understood the problem of our people and agreed to provide them with that convenience by allocating RM50 million for a road to be built under the Jiwa Murni programme which means the road is built by the army and the military.”
He said the roads built under the Jiwa Murni programme may not be as good as the roads provided by the Public Works Department but they are good enough to enable the rural people to travel from one place to another.
“Connectivity is important to the rural people so that they can transport their children to better schools and their agricultural products to the nearest markets.
“And please take note, these roads are built by the army or the military. Why is there no objection to it? Why did not the opposition call it an abuse of power?
“Why now, when the army used their aircraft to send our grassroots leaders and BN supporters (to meet the prime minister) has it become an abuse of power?”
Masing further revealed that among the 142 grassroots leaders and BN supporters taking the military flights to see Najib in Putrajaya, more than 20 of them were headmen and community leaders from Nanga Jagau, Nanga Ngungun and Nanga Semujan.
“When we asked the military to assist us to fly our people to Kuala Lumpur, the military agreed.
“Its the government’s payback time for the sacrifices the people in the three areas made in eliminating communist threats by agreeing to be resettled!
“Is this an abuse of power when this government is paying back the people for the sacrifices that they have made?
“And for the opposition, especially PKR, if you have not stayed in the rural areas, or are not from the rural areas, do not presume you know what we need and criticise how we rural people try to make the best use of the limited resources that we have to make our lives better,” said Masing who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister.