Hornbill Unleashed

April 9, 2017

Kapit river basin to be Sarawak’s version of Cameron Highlands?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Tan Sri James Jemut Masing the land in the Sungai Tunoh river basin in Sarawak’s Kapit division was suitable for planting wet paddy, oil palm, rubber, and other cash crops.— Picture by Sulok TawieAround 500,000 hectares of land in the Sungai Tunoh river basin in Sarawak’s Kapit division is set to be converted into the state’s food basket and ecotourism centre in the next 15 years, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing announced.

The move will affect some 1,500 people living at the Bukit Mabong district in five longhouses there, but Masing said they were considered squatters, amid concerns over displacement, The Borneo Post reported today.

“They have been there since the 1970s because they knew the land is fertile,” Masing was quoted saying.

“But the good thing about them is that they understand that they are squatting on state land. So we should have no problem with that.”

According to Masing, the area in the interior of Sarawak was suitable for planting wet paddy, oil palm, rubber, and other cash crops.

“We can also plant flowers, vegetables and fruits at the foothill of the Hose Mountain and with the airstrip, we can airlift these perishable products to the nearest towns to sell them,” said Masing.

“With its cool climate which is similar to Cameron Highlands in West Malaysia, it offers fertile land for farming except that Sg Tunoh river basin has more than Cameron Highlands because we can offer ecotourism products with its close proximity with the Hose Mountain where there are rivers and waterfalls,” he added.

The Baleh assemblyman said the project was the brainchild of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.

“We flew over the area once and he immediately saw its potential. After that, he asked me to develop it. He was sharp enough to see the potential in Sg Tunoh river basin,” he was reported saying.

Masing said that RM2 billion would be needed to develop infrastructure for the project, including at least RM500 million for an airstrip, and RM900 million more for a township nearby.

He disclosed that RM600 million has already been allocated to built a 40km road linking the area with the proposed Kapit-Baleh hydroelectric plant.

Last month, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg was reported saying that initial preliminary works for the Baleh dam has already started.

Source : @ Malay Mail Online


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