Sarawak has a lot to do in order to enjoy infrastructure like those in the peninsula, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
He attributed the lack of infrastructure in the state to factors such as rugged terrains, scattered population and low population density.
Hence, many rural and coastal areas do not have roads, water and electricity supplies. Accessibility to healthcare and education were also tough in these places, he pointed out.
“The current facilities available in the rural areas are not sufficient to enable rural folk to lead comfortable lives like those in urban areas.
“People in the rural areas need electricity supply, clean water supply, roads, bridges, clinics, schools and other facilities,” he said during the state-level National Day celebration at Sri Aman Sport Complex here yesterday.
The celebration was launched by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
After being in Malaysia for 53 years, he stressed that the state wanted special attention from Putrajaya.
“We no longer wish to have schools that ‘terjun’ (plunge) into the river, schools with no 24-hour electricity, and schools that can only be reached by dirty or muddy roads.”
He said the state government was working hard to bridge the huge economic gap between urban and rural areas.
“To bridge the gap, the state government has approved a RM1 billion allocation. We are now disbursing the allocation for the 2015/2016 period to provide infrastructure facilities and basic amenities in the rural areas.”
He said if Sarawak were to wait for the federal government to act, it would be much like the Malay idiom ‘macam menunggu sungai tidak berhulu’, where the wait might be in vain.
“Which is why we have to use our own resources and claim from them (federal government)later.”
Among those present were Taib’s wife, Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Adenan’s wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu, and deputy chief ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing and Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Daryll Law, firstname.lastname@example.org