Masing believes 2019 state budget good for rural Sarawak

Masing delivering his winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly today (Nov 13, 2018) as seen in this screengrab.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Nov 13: Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing believes the development-biased and rural-focused 2019 state budget will stimulate more economic activities that will transform the state.

“The state will continue with its socio-economic development and rural transformation agenda and will step up the implementation of rural transformation projects. This allocation (RM6.1 billion of the RM9.1 billion budget) will be for the provision of basic infrastructure and amenities, including roads and bridges, rural water and electricity supplies as well as other people-centric rural-based projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan,” he said in his winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly today.

As chairman of Cabinet Committee on Rural Transformation, Masing listed successful completed projects that included the setting-up of a Cluster-Clinic System at Klinik Kesihatan Long Lama and Klinik Kesihatan Sungai Asap and also the mobilisation of 15 Rural Clinic Visiting Doctor teams and the repair and upgrading work of 13 dilapidated rural health clinics.

Other successfully projects include 88 flood mitigation projects, 19 rural water supply projects under the Sarawak Alternative Water Supply (Sawas), communication pipe and sub-main programmes and the upgrading of an ex-logging road under Projek Mesra Rakyat (PMR).

In terms of electricity supply, he said electrical connections to 5,494 households via the Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) had been achieved, while another 400 households got theirs via the Hybrid Scheme and 1,977 households via the Sarawak Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares).

Under the transformation programme, the Cabinet Committee on Rural Transformation had also successfully provided Internet service to 1,455 schools via the 1BestariNet (1BRIS) telecommunications towers and had also completed survey work on residential lots, agriculture lots and home gardens at Metalun Resettlement Scheme in Belaga.

“For 2019, we will continue to implement various high-impact rural intervention projects,” he assured.

These projects include repair and upgrading works on 47 dilapidated rural schools and 22 dilapidated rural health clinics and to continue the upgrading of ex-logging roads as well as the implementation of three Sawas projects, 53 projects under the Communication Pipe and Submain initiative, two projects under retrofit of treatment plants/reservoirs programme and renewal/replacement of old pipelines.

For electricity connectivity, the committee aimed to electrify 6,856 rural households through RES, Hybrid Schemes and Sares as well as completing 26 flood mitigation projects.

It is also the committee’s objective to complete the survey works on agriculture lots and home garden at Tegulang Resettlement Scheme Belaga.

The projects included the implementation of various environmental and community awareness programmes under the committee’s new Key Results Areas on effective enforcement and the environment.

“The rakyat in the rural areas deserve to be provided with basic infrastructure and utilities in the shortest time possible. The high expectations of the rakyat to make a difference in their livelihood requires our total commitment to work together as a united team, regardless of our political affiliations,” said Masing. — DayakDaily