URDA identifies infrastructure, connectivity as priorities

Masing (seated centre) with (seated from left) Ismawi, Nanta, Wilson Baya, Ik Pahon and others in a group picture after the second URDA board meeting.

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KUCHING, Nov 7: The Upper Rajang Development Authority (URDA) will focus on infrastructure needs in the upper Rajang area, especially in terms of increasing connectivity within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) area.

As such, infrastructure development was one of the main items on the agenda at URDA’s second board meeting, which was held at the Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA) office here today.

During the meeting, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing who is the chairman of URDA, stressed on the importance of roads, particularly for opening up areas for economic activities such as commercial agriculture.

“Without infrastructure, nothing can take place and that is why infrastructure is what we are focusing on today.”

“Infrastructure has to come in first and that is why the YBs (elected representatives) in the URDA area will give their input before the government agencies concerned conduct their lab to discuss this issue early next year,” said Masing.

He said the proposals would then be forwarded to the board of RECODA for endorsement.

Masing who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister further pointed out that road infrastructure was also crucial in ensuring the security of areas under URDA, especially along the border.

Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi who is also deputy URDA chairman said apart from focusing on road infrastructure projects, URDA would also focus on socio-economic programmes.

“I support the development of the roads but at the same time, I would also like to focus on rural income generation programmes,” said Linggi who is Kapit MP.

RECODA chief executive officer Tan Sri Wilson Baya Dandot briefed the board on the various proposed road infrastructure projects for URDA, as well as socio-economic projects especially those involving income-generation and ‘quick-win’ projects for the communities of the Upper Rajang area.

URDA members who were present at the meeting included Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang, Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon, Deputy State Secretary Datu Ismawi Ismuni, Kapit Resident Joseph Belayong, Bintulu Resident Muhamad Yakup Kari, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports permanent secretary Datuk Ik Pahon Joyik and representatives from the Ministry Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development as well as Sarawak Energy Bhd. — DayakDaily