KUCHING, Oct 23: Bawang Assan assemblyman Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh claimed that “each and every household in the constituency is well connected by paved roads” but Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew observed that the situation says otherwise.
Lau pointed out that the road conditions at the Chinese villages in Bawang Assan particularly on the west bank of Sibu town were still in poor shape, narrow and without proper road shoulders and drains.
“Not much improvement can be done because the roads are on private land. To give an example, the road leading to SJK(C) Ing Guong and some of the houses sitting on private land.
“The road is narrow and part of it has not been tar-sealed when the gravels were placed on the road side with the purpose of widening a small portion of the road in 2016 as part of the election campaign. It has been five years and still no sign of tar sealing,” he said in a statement today in refuting Wong’s recent statement.
For 30 years, Lau stressed that there have been no major roads being built except for the road linking to Tanjung Manis and to the oil palm plantations at Sg Bidut.
“Wong Soon Koh was minister of infrastructure for eight years from 1996 to 2004. The 13-km Jalan Sungai Bidut was done in 2008 when Tan Sri Alfred Jabu (Numpang) was the Minister of Infrastructure.
“It is only now that this road is being extended to link up with the longhouses and kampungs (villages) along Batang Igan. The present Minister of Infrastructure is Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing,” he added.
Lau further explained that the federal government funded Malaysia Road Record Information System (Marris), which was allocated annually to local councils, cannot be used to repair roads on private land but for public roads under council’s jurisdiction.
“Sibu Rural District Council has allocated a few millions of ringgit per year over the last four years to repair the main roads on the west bank and Tanjung Kunyit using funds from Marris which is a federal fund.
“What is needed is the construction of new roads so that these roads can be maintained under Marris instead of leaving them as right of way on private roads. This has been the case for too long,” he said.
Many longhouses, he added, still do not have road access in Bawang Assan as well as electricity and treated water.
As reported in a local daily, Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) secretariat has defended that the people had witnessed how Bawang Assan, under the leadership of Wong, had transformed from a rural to a suburban seat with infrastructure facilities.
The report stated that about 90 per cent of the roads had been paved in the constituency and the majority of the longhouses and households were connected with electricity and water supply.
It added that there was road access in Bawang Assan, namely in Empawah, Pradom, Sungai Sadit, Engilo and Sungai Bidut areas with roads connecting to the doorsteps of each household. —DayakDaily