It is indeed rare to read news article that concern the Baram MP, Datuk Jacob Dunggau Sagan. We actually can count the numbers and as usual it is a clear indication that the election is coming soon and Datuk Sagan may need to defend his seat, given the green light from the party HQ and the recent endorsement at their AGM in Bintulu recently.
It is almost equal to none, if we ever hear this MP rise up any issues or enquiries in Parliament. Nevermind that, but as what I have read in the Star Metro’s article on what was the cause of the delays of approved government projects in Baram (Sarawak).
So, the MP blamed it on the villagers (in this case, maybe the Penans who held several blockage) for the delayed projects. That is in Upper Baram. What happen to those in the Lower Baram – the ever dusty Federal road of from Bakong to Lapok. The dusty road have brought in agricultural development to the area especially oil palm plantations. Owned by big players like Rimbunan Hijau, Lembaga Tabung Haji Malaysia, Boustead, etc. have indeed upgrade the standard of living of the nearby residents especially the Iban, Berawan and Punan ethnic groups.
Photos courtesy of Donny Joseph
Despite the muddy Tinjar River, the people are more than grateful of the development brought in by the Barisan Nasional government. Nevertheless, the construction of the Bakong-Lapok Road have changed many lives and we can see today that there are more economic activities being carried out in the area. People are able to market and transport their product to Miri within one day (it takes about 3 hours drive from Lapok to Miri).
However, from one election to another, we have not seen much improvement to the Bakong-Lapok Road despite a few promises by the government to improve it. What we cannot accept is the non-transparent approach by the government on that matter. During the SPDP’s AGM recently, the particular stretch was mentioned and hopefully there is a strong resolution from the party to urge the Federal government to expedite the improvement to that stretch.
I believe the various public listed companies who are involved in the economic activities should ‘give back’ some of their earnings for the maintenance or repair works (most of the time, this thin-surfaced road are full of potholes, etc. caused by the heavy vehicle transporting timber and oil palm products) or to fully surface the stretch.
Despite the continuous coverage by the local and national media, until today, the government and their representatives (voted by the people) are only good in delivering lips services.
To make matter worst, if the people do not support the government this election, that road would be neglected and there is no need for me to mention the number of road mishap that has happen there.
The voters are always caught in between – to vote and to hope, while not to vote will end up being sidelined by the government.
All this while it has been a BN stronghold but no better than the Kelantan PAS-lead government (in term of road maintenance and the cutting down of timber).
Extract from Star Metro, 23 August 2007
Bickering delaying projects
MIRI: Squabbles among villagers living in the same settlement in many parts of Baram district in northern Sarawak have caused prolonged delays in the completion of government-approved projects.
Disagreements over matters such as land ownership, land boundary disputes and native customary rights are hindering projects, said MP for Baram Datuk Jacob Sagan.
“The Government had approved many projects to improve the living standards of people in rural Sarawak.
“However, such projects cannot be carried out properly and on time if disputes persisted,” said Jacob to some 500 villagers in Long Palai recently when launching at the rural road there.
This was disappointing because the Government had put in a lot of money and effort to open up rural roads and bridges, with hopes to bring more benefit to rural folks.
Jacob said the Government had no choice but to shelf a project indefinitely until the land disputes were settled amicably, or else it would run into legal complications later.
He noted that there are many claims and counterclaims concerning land ownership and land boundaries among rival villagers.
Such disputes should be resolved fast, he stressed, so that the majority of the people would be able to benefit from the projects.
“It is the selfish attitude of some villagers that is holding back the projects meant to help uplift their standard of life,” he said.