Allocation not a gimmick

Gerawat (left) receives a souvenir which is a mixture of a Kayan traditional and western hat from PLKS chairwoman Catharina Tipong Usang at the ‘Pemung Keja’ie’ occasion at Telang Usan hotel, Kuching on Saturday night. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: The RM1.5 billion allocated to Highland Development Agency (HDA) for the implementation of basic infrastructure projects in the Baram parliamentary area, which includes Telang Usan and Mulu, is not an election gimmick, said Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala.

He said there were certain parties that were sceptical about the development projects by the state government, thus he called upon them to go and see for themselves the development projects that have been and are still being carried out such as roads and water treatment plants.

“I dare you to go Baram and you can see various roads which are now being upgraded,” he said during a Pemung Keja’ie (Get Together) dinner jointly organised by the Sarawak Kenyah National Association (PKKS), Kuching Branch and Peng Leto Kenyah Sarawak Kuching (PLKS) at Telang Usan Hotel on Saturday evening.

He said there are 22 road projects worth RM1.2 billion to be carried out and as of now, 13 projects have started already.

“The remaining RM300 million is used to provide clean water treatment plants in various locations where water supply is very poor.

“A lot is being done. But of course, we will never be able to do everything within a year or two — it has to be in phases.

On electricity supply projects under the Utilities Ministry and Sarawak Energy Berhad’s (SEB) Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares), he said the electricity coverage in Baram is now at 90 percent.

“This means that by end of next year or early 2022, all villages including our remote Penan villages will have electricity,” he said.

He said in the recent 2021 State Budget, 62 percent of the development budget is allocated for rural development and that goes to show how serious the state government is in helping the rural communities.

“I, as an elected representative and together with other Orang Ulu elected representatives like Anyi Ngau (Baram MP) and Dennis Ngau (Telang Usan assemblyman) will continue to do our very best to help our communities.

“And be assured that the government is also doing their best to assist in terms of providing basic infrastructure,” said Gerawat.