KUCHING: Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said an interior highway needs to be built to guarantee the security of Sarawak’s three major dams.
The three dams are the Bakun HEP dam, the Murum HEP dam and the Baleh HEP dam that is going to be built.
Masing who is Deputy Chief Minister said an interior highway would be part of the security measures to protect the three dams.
“You must understand that on the other side of the border, the road goes all the way up to Lawas. If anything goes wrong, the other side can walk in. And the thing that is very precious that we are not guarding is our three dams.
“The three dams have not a single military man there. Anybody from the other side can just come to bomb the dams,” said Masing, adding that to station military personnel there, an interior highway needs to be built to prepare for any eventuality.
Masing however, denied that he went to see Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently over the interior highway.
Instead, he said he had brought the delegation comprising community leaders and Barisan Nasional supporters from the Rajang River Basin to see Najib to facilitate the building of more roads in the interior especially the road linking Nanga Jagau, Nanga Ngungun and Nanga Semujan to Ulu Sungai Ngemah.
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.
Najib had agreed to give RM50 million to build the 30km road linking their ancestral home to the resettlement area at Ulu Sungai Ngemah.
Masing said one-third of the delegation going to Kuala Lumpur using the military planes were from Kanowit, ‘the very people who fought against the communists in the 70s.’
“So when i asked the army to help, they were willing because these Kanowit people have helped the army by resettling somewhere else, so that we could get rid of the communists in Kanowit,” Masing told the media at the prize-giving ceremony of the 10th Sarawak Amateur Masters Open Golf Championship 2017 event at Kelab Golf Sarawak here today.
“This is the least that the army can do. It is payback time for these people who had (helped) got rid of the communists from the area. I don’t think anybody should object to it. It was payback time,” said Masing.
He said many of those who made comments on social media did not know about the sacrifices the Kanowit people have made and why the military was willing to help the delegation.
“The social media people (commentators) don’t know. They are not from the area and they don’t know what it is like to be under the threat of the communists in the 70s,” said Masing who was the patron of the championship event.
He reiterated that he could not afford to send the whole delegation comprising 180 members on commercial flights.
“That is why I went to see the military. I said one-third of these people are from Kanowit who helped you to fight the communists. So they (the military) helped us.”
He reiterated there was no hidden agenda to see the prime minister. The only agenda was to say ‘thank you’ to the prime minister for what he had done for the people of the area.