Accessibility key to Sarawak’s progress

Large tracts of undeveloped land in Baleh constituency waiting to be developed for infrastructure connectivity.

KUCHING: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing has emphasised accessibility as the key to unlocking Sarawak’s potential.

While on a helicopter trip to a longhouse in his constituency of Baleh, he saw large tracts of undeveloped land and pondered on the need to unlock such assets in order for them to be economically productive for the people.

“The only way to unlock its potential is to create accessibility to all these regions. That means roads and bridges need to be built, and the sooner the better.

“Under Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s administration, we may get the necessary funding for these purposes,” said the Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister in a statement om Friday (Sept 10).

He said the state government was heading in the right direction by focusing on infrastructure development, pointing out that the chief minister was emphasising on infrastructure construction under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

“As minister in charge of infrastructure development, I have and will give the chief minister my fullest support in his pursuit to create accessibility to all corners of Sarawak,” he affirmed.

“To me, accessibility is the key to unlock the potentials of Sarawak. Well done, CM Abang Jo,” he said.

Masing cited China as the best example of the importance of accessibility in eradicating poverty and increasing revenue. He recalled that China had been among the poorest nations in the world in the 70s.

“However, 40 years later, China is the richest nation in the world in terms of income per capita, surpassing the United States of America (USA). This economic fact was acknowledged by Jeffrey Sachs in his book ‘The Price of Civilisation’ (2012).

“The question we need to ask is this: what was the key which unlocked China’s potential to economic prosperity? And the answer is the development of infrastructure — building roads and bridges as well as providing water and electricity to the nooks and corners of China,” he said.

Masing said that billions were spent by the Chinese government for these purposes and 40 years later, China is reaping the benefits of careful planning on its infrastructure development.