Masterplan for “Belaga Jaya” to ensure communities thrive in changing times

Abang Johari playing the sape musical instrument as symbolic of launching the earth-breaking ceremony for the construction of a mosque and a waterfront in Belaga. Also seen are Masing (fourth left) and Liwan (second right). Photos credit: Ukas.

BELAGA, Oct 17: The State government’s masterplan for Belaga aspires to turn the small and sleepy town along the Rajang River into “Belaga Jaya” or a modern township with improved road accessibility to Kapit and Bintulu.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out that Belaga is like Petra Jaya in the old days in which extensive development has positioned it to become a thriving township.

“We have a masterplan for Belaga with new housing, commercial areas and development across the river just like Petra Jaya to transform it into ‘Belaga Jaya’.

“Coming to Belaga is not easy via the Pelagus rapids where many lives have been sacrificed if they cannot maneuver the boat skillfully through the harsh elements.

“So this is something we take into considerations and following my visit to Nanga Mujong in the past two weeks, I told (Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut) Masing and (other) colleagues that my intention is to ride my motorcycle from Kapit to Belaga (in the future) provided that I am still physically strong,” he said.

He highlighted this at the earth-breaking ceremony for the new mosque and a waterfront for Belaga here today.

Abang Johari adorning the traditional Orang Ulu headgear delivering his opening remarks at Belaga.

As such, Abang Johari pointed out that roads must be built to connect Belaga to Kapit and subsequently other necessary developments that will allow the communities to flourish in changing times.

“Belaga is in the middle of Sarawak’s development. It is developing and progressing as there is even a request for a waste management facility which I thought only big cities would need.

“(Belaga assemblyman Datuk) Liwan (Lagang) also requested for a new town square (here) since Kapit has one (which was launched recently). That’s not a problem, we will build a town square for Belaga,” he said.

Admitting that the development will incur a huge amount of money, he nevertheless gave commitment to find means and ways to fulfill the long list of development requests in tens of millions of ringgit if the GPS government is given a fresh new mandate.

“I cannot make any promises now because my time (term) as well as that of other leaders in the state cabinet are about to expire. So you know what to do. Liwan, James Masing and all GPS candidates have to be retained,” he added.

While the Covid-19 has caused uncertainty for the state election to be called, which is expected due in June 2021, Abang Johari however said that in democracy, the people must be let to determine the government they want.

Abang Johari signing the plaque as symbolic for the commencement of Belaga waterfront construction.

“There is so much more I wanted to do because it is not enough (referring to additional revenue from State Sales Tax from petroleum products). So if given the permission, we will work hard to increase the state revenue so we can take care of the needs of the people and Sarawak.

“We will continue with our plan to develop Belaga including roads connecting Belaga to Kapit and Bintulu to complete the loop,” he emphasised.

Abang Johari reminded the people to safeguard the harmony in the state because a stable and good government is the core for Sarawak’s future.

He reiterated that the country is in a mess now due to the power struggle that persisted until today even when people are being threatened by Covid-19.

“What is happening to our country? People need a good government who puts people’s interest first which GPS is committed to.

“The GPS government will ensure holistic and comprehensive policies are in place, including enhancing rural communities like fishermen, to protect them from foreign (vessels) encroachment into waters of Sarawak including Batang Rajang which is rich with empurau (fish).

Abang Johari (inside the excavator) together with others give their thumbs up after a symbolic ceremony to kick start the construction of a mosque in Belaga.

“We need to change or restrategise our policies towards 2030 with education important for our children. I am thankful that Sarawak continues to be stable and our revenue is not dependent on others. We can generate our own development,” he stressed. —DayakDaily