Opposition Chief Baru Bian feels encouraged by Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s statement on the Sarawak Government dipping more, in future, into its own funds.
“I urge him to use state funds for schools, hospitals, electricity, water and other facilities for the rural folk,” he said in a statement. “The people deserve better after 53 years as Malaysians.”
On a pessimistic note, he referred to the MACC Report 2009, which found that 60 per cent of federal funds for certain Sarawak projects had been diverted to some people.
He referred to the Sarawak Government approving RM15 million for the Lawas to Long Sukang road.
“In a written answer in the Sarawak Assembly this year, the government said it was constructing 2.8 km of road there,” he noted. “Something was not right if RM15 million was to be spent on building only 2.8 km.”
“The distance from Lawas to Long Sukang is about 35 km. The road to Ba’ Kelalan was also in a really bad condition, and in dire need of repairs.”
Baru was commenting on Adenan’s warning in Sri Aman, during the August 31 celebrations, that there was a lack of infrastructure in Sarawak.
“The Chief Minister hit the nail on the head,” added Baru who is Ba’ Kelalan Assemblyman and PKR Sarawak Chairman. “He sounded exasperated. His statement reflects the sentiment and disappointment of all Sarawakians.”
He pointed out that what Adenan was saying now was no different from what the Opposition has been saying for years. “The underlying message in my statement dated 31 August was the need for the truth to be acknowledged.”
It’s only right the Sarawak Government should use its reserves to improve the lives of the people, continued Baru. “I asked in the Sarawak Assembly, in November 2013, for the utilization of state reserves to improve schools.”
He recalled the Finance Minister II was against the suggestion. “He replied that Education was a Federal matter.”
“He further said we should not use our reserves, which we have worked so hard to build over the past years, to finance responsibilities beyond our purview.”
Sarawakians, especially those in the rural areas, dream of having good roads, said Baru. “We need to connect Lawas through the interior to Long Semadoh, Bario, and Long Lama, and to the other rural areas like Kapit and Ulu Rejang in the interior.”
The Petronas Sabah-Sarawak Pipeline from Kimanis (Sabah) to Bintulu (Sarawak) could be the prototype for an interior highway, he suggested. “It’s possible if we have the political will and means.”
Improved road connectivity will act as a catalyst for economic activities and uplift the lives of the rural folk, said Baru.
FMT Reporters Online