KUCHING: Pakan assemblyman Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom has invited those who kept assuming that the district is the poorest in Malaysia to come and see for themselves whether it lives up to the ranking.
He said those who have never been to Pakan, should not believe the lies and misleading judgment made by parties who intended to bring him down just for political gain.
“These are all lies. I do not know what sort of indicators and methodology they used to make such a comment. And I would not question it because I’m not an anthropologist or an economist, but the thing is, come to Pakan.
“For those professionals who like to come to Pakan, let us compare and contrast. I’m willing to pay for their bills. Come and justify your comments. Just don’t go around making wild accusations,” he said in an exclusive interview with Dr Jeniri Amir on TVS’s Twenty30 programme Monday night (Nov 16).
Mawan further said that Pakan is known to be the biggest producer of pepper, based on the Economic Census 2016, adding that there are 17,000 hectares of pepper farms in the country. Of these, 16,000 hectares is in Sarawak while the rest are in Sabah and Johor.
“Pakan has 2,000 hectares of the total pepper farms in the state producing 3,490 metric tonnes worth RM109 million.
“We (Pakan) have only about 17,000 people at the most. Of these, we have 5,800 people planting pepper and with total revenue of about RM105 million. Tell me, how are we poor?” he said.
He also said that Pakan has 97 percent electricity supply, 97 percent road connectivity and 62 percent water supply with more ongoing projects ‘left and right’ (everywhere across Pakan).
“What about our cash crops like palm oil, vegetables, and rubber? Forget the subsistence farming — nobody plants rice now. And nobody in Pakan lives in longhouses on stilts anymore. All longhouses are concrete.
“None of the longhouses are left without roads and none of the houses are without electricity. For anybody to say Pakan is the poorest district in Malaysia, I think it is a bit too much,” he said.