By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, April 18: There was an air of festivity in Long Lama this morning when some 500 people turned up to witness the soft launching of the state-funded RM67 million bridge across Batang Baram.
The locals feel so indebted to the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, Sarawak’s fifth chief minister, for giving them this bridge that they proposed it be named after him, said Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau.
Met by reporters after he officiated at the event, Dennis said, “We would like this 573m bridge to be named after the late ‘Tok Nan’. This is because if not for him, the construction of this bridge might not have become a reality.”
Long Lama is about a 90-minute drive from Miri city. Before the bridge materialised, Long Lama folks and those from Apoh and Tutoh were totally dependent on the ferry service to cross the river.
However, the ferry service only started operating in the area in 2002, meaning the locals had to use boats and sampans to cross the river previously.
“This bridge, work on which started in 2016, will definitely make travelling time much shorter and convenient when compared to the old days,” Dennis remarked and expressed confidence that it could help raise and develop the socio-economy wellbeing of Long Lama and surrounding areas.
He revealed Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was scheduled to officially declare open the bridge sometime in June.
On another topic, Dennis said there were suggestions for the locals to grow coffee beans and ‘Tongkat Ali’.
“I strongly believe that with this bridge, it is viable to grow these crops. The government has, in fact, approved the construction of a collection, processing and packaging centre (CPPC) here (Long Lama,” he said.
On politics, he urged Long Lama residents to stay united and to give their undivided support to the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led state government.
“As long as we stay united and give our support to GPS, we, for sure, will have a bright future,” he said.
Also present at the soft launching were political secretaries to the Chief Minister, Charles Balan Seling, Robert Ayu, Temengong Elizabeth Ding, Telang Usan district officer Baru Tai and local community leaders. — DayakDaily