Hornbill Unleashed

May 12, 2017

Budget cuts threaten Orang Ulu lifeline

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Sections of the road to Bario which are now damaged and needing immediate repair as the road is now not passable to four-wheel-drive vehicles.A number of Kelabit, Penan and other Orang Ulu communities are in a precarious situation as two stretches of road in Mulu constituency are badly damaged and several broken bridges unrepaired following the drying up of Public Works Department (JKR) coffers for road maintenance.

Many communities along the Long Banga-Bario road have been cut off while those living along the Long Jegan-Long Loyang road are also at risk.

Baram is estimated to have a population of 70,000 consisting of Kenyahs, Kayans, Kelabits, Ibans, Penans and Berawans scattered across 387 settlements and longhouses.

Mulu assemblyman and State Legislative Assembly deputy speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala is calling for immediate action to be taken on the Long Banga-Bario and Long Jegan-Long Loyang stretches, saying the lack of road repairs is causing misery to the people.

Myy-bp120517-pq-broken-brid“Many longhouses will be cut off from towns and will not be able to get essential supplies,” he warned.

He said the immediate concern to the rural folk is the poor condition of former logging roads serving many longhouses which have been upgraded by the government and handed over to JKR for maintenance.

He had been informed by Miri JKR that maintenance of the upgraded logging roads from Long Banga to Bario, and Long Jegan to Long Loyang has stopped as there was no budget allocated for maintenance and repair.

“What is unfolding now is parts of these roads are not accessible due to landslides, broken log bridges, etc. This has resulted in serious problems for the affected rural longhouses as essential supplies such as fuel, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and food items, especially for schools, cannot be delivered,” he said.

He called upon the relevant government authorities to act immediately to alleviate the suffering of the affected rural communities by ensuring that sufficient funds be allocated for the repair and maintenance of these logging roads which were upgraded at huge costs to the government.

Meanwhile, on the weekly fuel price setting, he said the people in rural areas were also affected but government subsidies for transportation of fuel and LPG to rural destinations has mitigated the impact on prices of goods.

“The impact is not as serious as for areas which may not be covered by the transportation subsidy,” he said.

He, however, was more worried that these supplies may not reach their destinations if critical roads and bridges leading to those locations are damaged and left unattended.

On the Long Seridan road, he said it is not as bad as Bario as the Petronas gas pipeline maintenance contractor is helping to maintain the road for the time being.

Putrajaya approved RM300 million for the upgrading of rural roads in the region in 2014 following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s walkabout and visit to Ulu Baram on June 1 where he announced an allocation of RM240 million on top of the RM60 million approved for the Long Banga-Bario stretch.

The RM240 million allocation from the federal government was meant to help improve the condition of the rural road leading from the interior of Baram to Miri

Many roads built across timber concession areas are used by timber companies to ferry the logs they have harvested to mills for processing and exports abroad.

Source :  @ The Borneo Post Online by Philip Kiew




  1. In fact the timber thieves and Mafias should built the road and bridges after raping the Virgin jungles not State Government.

    Comment by Salim — May 12, 2017 @ 2:53 PM | Reply

    • Exactly , but the timber thieves and mafias are claiming that business is not good so can’t help to improve the roads. If business is not good why are they still and able to cut down the timbers and not close shop? Its just an excuse to continue raping the forest and not paying the locals the amount promised and agreed!

      Comment by Brian — May 16, 2017 @ 4:11 AM | Reply

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