Tuesday March 24, 2009
By STEPHEN THEN
Source: The Star Online
MIRI: Continous delays in the implementation of rural infrastructure upgrading projects are still affecting the people of interior Sarawak.
Former Limbang MP Mutang Tagal said development packages for rural Sarawak folk announced by the Government had been affected by slow implementation.
Tagal, a respected leader from the Lun Bawang minority ethnic community, said most of the financial allocations from the Federal Government meant to upgrade or improve the infrastructure facilities in remote Sarawak did not achieve their aims because of the poor delivery system.
Mutang, from the Ba’Kelalan highlands of innermost northern Sarawak, said in an interview that the rural folk were sceptical whether the latest stimulus packages announced in the Dewan Rakyat last month would achieve its noble objectives to the fullest.
“The aim of these stimulus packages are noble, there is no doubt about it. The Government have good intentions to help the rural poor.”
“However, the end results usually did not meet the noble objectives. We (he and his Lun Bawang communities) are speaking from past experiences.”
“A classic example is the horrific conditions of the roads all over rural Sarawak. The situation is the same in the highlands,” he said.
Mutang said the problem was that financial allocations were not implemented according to plan.
Mutang was asked to comment on the latest stimulus package of RM1.2 bil announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for Sabah and Sarawak to help stimulate the economy and repair infrastructure facilities for rural folks.
He said the state of rural roads in Sarawak have not improved for decades and that there were many places without proper water supply and electricity.
“In Ba’Kelalan, there is still no proper telecommunications facilities. The roads leading to the outside world are still mud. These roads have not even be gravelled, let alone tarred.”
“Where are all the intended projects for solar energy, mini-hydro dams and telecommunication linkages? So many announcements had been made in the past before, but nothing has materialised,” he said.
Mutang said that the state and federal agencies must overcome the weaknesses in the delivery systems in order for financial allocations to be properly utilised for the targetted recipients or else rural folks would still not benefit much despite the allocations.
Uchu Keling says: We hope more Dayak leaders at any level to continue to seek explaination from the Federal Government on why the delay in deliveries. We hope the Federal agencies are not too busy analysing what is happening in UMNO and Pakatan Rakyat because the situation here in Sarawak is real.