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By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, March 31: The Sarawak government vows to carry on with its rural electrification scheme to ensure that the rakyat in rural areas are not left far behind by providing them with development infrastructure such as electricity supply.
The third phase of the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) in Mulu constituency is expected to be completed by end of April, benefitting a total of 244 households or 2,641 villagers.
“The project, once completed will help light up those residences in Mulu with 24-hour electricity supply,” revealed Assistant Minister for Rural Electricity Supply, Datuk Abdul Rahman Junaidi.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, marking the completion and commissioning of solar-powered systems in Long Ukok on Sunday morning, he added the state government via SARES has plans to expand rural electrification coverage in Mulu constituency starting this year until 2021.
Also present were Deputy State Legislative Assembly Speaker Dato Gerawat Gala, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, Ministry of Utilities director of electricity supply Syed Fauzi Shahab, and Sarawak Energy Berhad vice-president for rural electrification Dr Chen Shiun.
Abdul Rahman revealed, for this year (2019), a total of 16 longhouses representing 681 households will benefit from the project.
“While for the year 2020 to 2021, we have plans to extend Sares which would involve a total of 31 longhouses (1,500 households) to be fitted with electricity within Mulu,” he said, adding it is part of the Sarawak government’s mission and vision to ensure every rural area is lighted up with electricity regardless of locality.
Citing Sares as an example of an initiative which is fully funded by the Sarawak government, he added, the project is in line wth improving the well-being of the rakyat.
“Since the change of leadership at the federal level, a lot of projects which were approved for the Sarawak government by the previous federal government have been slashed, and we could no longer rely on them anymore for funding.
“We brought in electricity and clean water supply to rural areas, and today, three villages in Tutoh Apoh namely Long Ukok, Batu Belah-Long Patan and Long Pahlo are no more dependent on generator sets to light up their longhouses as they now have Sares,” he added.
“For future development, we are looking into plans to connect these areas to Marudi town and Miri with roads access, and allocation for phase one of the project has been approved by the Sarawak government.”
Meanwhile, Gerawat highlighted that Sares is part of the state government’s efforts and strategy to accelerate rural development by providing electricity to remote and rural villages in the State.
He also disclosed that the Sarawak government is planning to provide Internet connection in these areas.
“GPS under the leadership of our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has plans to set up telecommunication towers within rural areas such as in Baram so that people, regardless of how remote their location, can gain access to Internet connection,” he said.
On the alleged Mulu encroachment issue, Gerawat caution outsiders not to intervene into the matters.
“We have our own method to solves the issues, and outsiders are not welcome to intervene,” he said. — DayakDaily