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KUCHING, Feb 18: Party Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Murum and Belaga youth divisions fully support calls for Sungai Asap to be elevated into a full district and Belaga into a division.
In a joint statement issued today, their respective chiefs, Hemang Yu Abit and Robert Jeno asserted it was about time the sacrifices that the Belaga people have made for the development of the two largest hydroelectric power (HEP) projects in Sarawak are recognised by elevating the Belaga district and Sungai Asap sub-district into a full division and district respectively.
“We strongly oppose any attempt to move Sungai Asap to be under Sebauh District. Why move us to be under another district when Sungai Asap should in fact be elevated into a full district?
“We are the powerhouse of Sarawak and for more than 30 years, Belaga timber has benefited the state and its people. Furthermore, we also have sacrificed a huge area for oil palm plantations. What did we get in return,” they asked.
“If not now, when can we enjoy the fruits of development? We really hope that the state seriously takes into consideration the plea of the Belaga people for their district to be elevated.”
They reiterated that despite its small population of about 35,000 people, the huge expanse of Belaga and Sungai Asap have contributed significantly to Sarawak’s coffers.
“The criteria to elevate any area into a district or division includes considering, not only their population but also their size and potentialities (sic). We must also ensure fairer and more equitable distribution of development funds particularly in a rural area like Belaga,” they added.
Both Hemang and Robert were responding to a proposal that Sungai Asap’s administration be transferred to Sebauh district.
In fact, Kennedy told DayakDaily last Saturday that the community leaders will hand over a letter to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, to request that the CM intervenes to stop the proposal during his scheduled visit to Sungai Asap on Feb 29. — DayakDaily