Katibas rep: Song needs 156km road network to connect 88 settlements

A screengrab of Lidam raising several issues in his maiden speech during the Ukas live broadcast of today's DUN sitting.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 20: Katibas assemblyman Lidam Assan is requesting for the construction of 156km worth of feeder roads to connect 88 settlements in eight major areas in the constituency.

These eight areas are Sungai Bangkit (37km, 11 settlements), Sungai Musah (15km, 11 settlements), Sungai Iran (16km, 14 settlements), Sungai Song (15km, 9 settlements), Sungai Tekalit (29km, 20 settlements), Sungai Lijau (5km, 4 settlements), Sungai Manap (5km, 5 settlements) and Engkuah to Ng Ngeranau (34km, 14 settlements).

He said road connectivity is a basic need of life and a prerequisite of development. For decades now, there has been a lack of development within the area.

“The construction and completion of the above roads will not only enable us to unlock our idle NCR (native customary rights) land but to add value with better commercialisation of farming, thus assist us to eradicate poverty in the rural areas,” said Lidam while debating the Governor’s Address at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly today.

Meanwhile, Lidam also proposed for the building of Song Innovation Village (SIV) to provide training and retraining of farmers prior to giving them the actual projects, to ensure sustainability of all projects.

If the plan is accepted, he hoped that the centre will be fitted with high-speed internet connectivity which caters to knowledge and product ideation, current news about technology, training, innovation, startups, product reviews, business registration services and business marketing.

“It may act as Community Reference Centre to pilot or prototype their project before entering actual production and market. Each project type will be allocated with their training and prototype plot ranges from coffee, cocoa, oil palm to fisheries,” said Lidam, who added that the centre will take up an area size of 100 acres with an initial cost of RM5 million.

The first term lawmaker stressed that Song, with its vast uncultivated land can be another food basket for Sarawak.

In view of the popularity of coffee among the younger generation where a latte is sold for at least RM7, and a bubble tea latte, RM9 or more, he said coffee planting and the coffee industry is now on his agenda.

Presently, there is already a team of Song and Kapit residents who are committed to the planting of coffee and a one-stop collection and high value downstream product processing centre will be set up by a private company.

“We hope to see more commercial plantation coming up emulating this pioneer project of coffee planting and coffee bean processing. Such a model may be applicable to other commodities or cash crops such cocoa.

“As such I propose to set up the Sarawak Coffee Board to carry out the feasibility study on the development of this industry since we have much potential to tap,” said Lidam. — DayakDaily