By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Jan 26: Orang Ulu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OUCCI) president Datuk Mutang Tagal has described Ba’Kelalan constituency as a ‘prodigal son’ who must return back to the ‘fold of the government of the day’.
He said, since it has been under the opposition for the past two terms, the people in the constituency which comprise mostly the Lun Bawang community, has lost millions of ringgit annually in terms of government allocations and projects.
“We want that ‘prodigal son’ to come back. One (of the six Orang Ulu constituencies) is out of the fold. The rest are in the fold. And of course we want that one out of the fold to be in the fold,” Mutang told DayakDaily in an exclusive interview for its ‘Spot On’ programme today.
Mutang who was the former Bukit Mas MP which covered Limbang and Lawas from 1982-1990, now hopes that voters in Ba’Kelalan will vote for a candidate from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in order to receive the much needed government allocations for development locally.
“In the last two terms, when we were under the opposition, we have lost so much through the ADUN (Member of State Legislative Assembly) allocations; from the MRP (Minor Rural Project), RTP (Rural Transformation Programme) and few more millions of ringgit from agriculture subsidies and so on. We are talking about losing RM8 to RM10 million a year.
“So, for the last 10 years, can you imagine? We have missed about RM100 million in Ba’Kelalan, just through the ADUN itself and on top of that, all the other allocations by the government, major programmes, projects and all that. These are the things that we have missed. Therefore, we don’t want to miss this opportunity again for another term. It’s just one too costly for us,” he reiterated.
Ba’Kelalan has been represented by Baru Bian since 2011, which he won under a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) ticket. Baru joined Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) last year.
The remaining five Orang Ulu majority seats of Belaga, Murum, Telang Usan, Mulu and Batu Danau are all under GPS.
On politics, Mutang said GPS can wrest back Ba’Kelalan from the opposition in the coming state election provided the ruling coalition fields the right candidate.
“GPS can win in Ba’Kelalan provided it puts the right candidate. The right candidate with the right credentials, acceptable to the people and having vision for the area. Politics is the art of the possible. Nothing is impossible provided certain formulae are followed or adhered to,” he emphasised.
Mutang also advised the people of Ba’Kelalan to support GPS in the coming state election so that the constituency will not be left out of major development such as better roads and 24-hour electricity supply.
“Why do we have to go with the opposition? We have had enough. The Lun Bawang (of Ba’Kelalan) are not very rich. The people are not very well to do. We have a lot (of catch-up) to do.
“The roads are hopeless. Ba’Kelalan has no 24-hour electricity supply. This includes areas such as Long Semadoh and Long Sukang. We are surviving on generator sets. So, what more do they (opposition supporters) want. (Therefore), they (those supporting the opposition) must change,” he concluded. — DayakDaily