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KUCHING, Feb 21: The fact that Song has been listed as one of the 10 poorest districts in Malaysia has not come as a surprise amidst the lack of infrastructure development in the rural township over the past 40 years.
Katibas Democratic Action Party (DAP) service centre coordinator, Paren Nyawi, said Song district, in Kapit division, was way behind in basic infrastructure, where the 24-hour electricity grid only reached about 22 per cent of its villages.
He claimed that treated water supply had only reached 9.6 per cent, while telecommunication services were not available in many settlements, penetrating about 58 per cent of the district situated under the Katibas state constituency.
About 71.9 per cent of villages in Song highly depend on the river network as their mode of transportation, he lamented.
“The people of Song had given their mandate to the then state-ruling Barisan Nasional government, and now GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak), since 1979 to develop the district.
“The fact that Song is listed as one of the 10 poorest districts in Malaysia goes to show the failure on the government’s part to fulfil the aspirations of the younger generations in this district,” Paren said in a statement today.
He felt that lawmakers at the state and parliamentary levels seem to have failed in tackling development and socio-economic issues that had long affected the population.
According to a 2019 report published by the Statistics Department, seven of the 10 poorest districts in the country are located in Sarawak, including Pakan, Kanowit, Lubok Antu, Simunjan, Daro and Selangau.
Paren expressed hope that the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development under the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government would give special attention to these districts, particularly Song.
“I hope the new Malaysian government would not neglect Song district, which needs special attention in infrastructure and socio-economic development and education among others,” he said.
Paren was responding to a recent statement by Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun, who said she wanted to provide special focus to the 28 poorest districts in Malaysia.
According to Rina, the ministry would channel aid and collaborate with relevant government agencies and departments to improve the socio-economy and welfare of the people at these districts. — DayakDaily