Sarawak witnesses remarkable progress: Poverty rate reduced to 9 pct, major infrastructure projects underway

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas wishes all Dayaks a blessed and joyful Gawai Dayak.

KUCHING, May 31: The poverty rate in Sarawak has experienced a significant decline, dropping from 47.8 per cent in 1976 to 9 per cent in 2019.

Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas emphasised that over the past six decades, Sarawak has undergone remarkable transformation, resulting in rapid socio-economic advancements across various sectors such as communications, health, education, and the economy.

“We have achieved 97.9 per cent electrification rate and 67.2 per cent water supply rate in rural areas.

“Undeniably, Sarawakians now enjoy greater mobility than ever, with many Gawai Dayak celebrants now driving their own vehicles home. The once very popular express boats have now disappeared in its domains like Sibu, Kapit, Sarikei, Bintulu and Marudi,” he said in his Gawai Dayak message today.

Emphasising the role of political stability and racial harmony in Sarawak’s rapid development, Uggah said Gabungan Parti Sarawk (GPS) government under the leadership of Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s commitment to inclusivity is not merely empty rhetoric but has been actively implemented and practiced, resulting in the tangible benefits for the people of Sarawak.

“Abang Johari is a leader of all races and religions. This is clearly reflected in his policy of inclusivity. Social inclusivity is one of the key pillars in Post-Covid Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030. This is to ensure that no one or any community will be left out from enjoying the fruits of development,” he pointed out.

As the Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development (MIPD), Uggah underlined the commitment of GPS government to enhance the road network system.

He said the implementation of the Second Trunk Road and Coastal Highway projects, with a total cost of RM11 billion, is underway and is expected to be completed by 2025. These projects encompass the construction of 11 bridges amounting to RM4 billion.

Furthermore, MIPD has been entrusted with the execution of 229 People’s Projects worth RM9.06 billion, including 121 road projects, 50 bridges, 53 buildings, four jetties, and the Bebuling STOLport worth RM296 million.

“Upon their full completion, they will generate economic growth and improve the overall living standard of the people,” he added.

For Sarawakians living in neighbouring Sabah, Uggah mentioned that the Sabah-Sarawak Link Road (SSLR) Phase 1 construction has begun.

“The construction of the 398 kilometers long road is divided into four phases and will connect Miri, Limbang and Lawas. As of April 2023, the SSLR Phase 1 construction is on schedule and is expected to be completed by January 2026,” he said.

On road maintenance, he was pleased that the Public Works Department (JKR) has set up its Rural Road Maintenance Unit to monitor and facilitate the upkeep of rural roads with Baram area chosen to begin this pilot project.

“This is a crucial issue, especially during the wet season for unsealed roads,” he said.

Noting that the future is going to be immensely challenging with the advent of new digital technologies, Uggah appealed to all Dayaks to take this Gawai Dayak celebration as an opportunity to foster unity among all races.

“One of the proven ways to do this is through our respective communal celebrations like the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Gawai, Christmas and so forth. Let us continue our tradition of ‘Ngabang’ or visiting each other open house to spread goodwill, harmony and most of all, strengthen our unity.

“Let us all stay united and continue to support GPS government in its many programmes in the effort to develop Sarawak as a high income region by 2030,” he said. — DayakDaily