Malcolm Mussen: Urgent need to transform ‘ghostly rural outpost’ Lubok Antu into international gateway

Müssen (second left) presenting a token of appreciation to Abang Johari (fourth left) while Masing (third left) looks on.

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By Lian Cheng and Chris Bishop

KUCHING, Mar 30: Batang Ai assemblyman Datuk Malcolm Mussen Lamoh has requested the Sarawak government to lay down infrastructure for Lubok Antu to pave way for the “ghostly rural outpost” to be transformed into an international gateway between Sarawak and Indonesia.

The rational according to Mussen was that it would not be difficult to predict and realise the potential and magnitude of border trade and economic spin-offs from the proposed shift of Indonesian capital from Java to Kalimantan in the near future considering Batang Ai constituency’s huge natural resources and vast arable land across the border.

“Obviously with this timely visit, YAB (Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) must have clear vision and noble intentions to transform a border town like Lubok Antu from a ghostly rural outpost to a more friendly and conducive environment for tourists and potential investors to come and visit at least to create and generate more income-generating potentials for local community, instead of just being regarded as source to produce electrical power and water for the other parts of Sarawak,” said Mussen in a ceremony to welcome the visit of Abang Johari to Lubok Antu today.

Also visiting the town was Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing and State Secretary Datuk Amar Samion Jauh.

On top of the list of infrastructure projects Mussen proposed is a dual-carriageway to connect to the Pan Borneo Highway or special- purpose railway system all the way to the deep seaport of Tanjong Manis or other destinations which can cater for bulk-handling or trucking of goods.

Apart from that, Mussen who is also International Trade and Industry, Industry Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Assistant Minister also proposed a light industrial estate for semi-finished products (timber-based or minerals) and agrotechnology park (for improved productivity and environmental sustainability /new product development) be established in the border town.

This was proposed considering the abundance of local products, materials as well as the rich flora and fauna that could be utilised and processed downstream in order to boost up the local economy, while providing more job opportunities.

It is also Mussen’s fervent hope that the Sarawak government may expedite some smaller infrastructure projects such as extension of Ng Kesit- Ulu Engkari/Lemanak road (Phase II & III), 25km Ulu Batang Ai road, distribution lines for Water supply (phase II) projects for Lubok Antu District, floating Solar power Project at Batan g Ai hydro dam (up to150 MW) and New Engkilili Water Treatment plant with initial capacity of 75 MLD (million litres per day). — DayakDaily