DALAT: The last five years has been fruitful for the district of Dalat and its Oya sub-district, with some major developments taking place and changing their landscapes.
This was made possible due to good leadership coupled with close cooperation and support from the communities as well as the relevant agencies.
Dalat now has a riverfront, which was constructed in two phases, with Phase Two completed last year.
Since its completion, the Dalat Riverfront has become a proud landmark for everyone.
It has not only become a centre for recreation, attracting locals and visitors, but also provides economic opportunities.
Sarawak Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah has been instrumental in helping to get Phase Two up and completed.
But she did not stop there.
Her request to extend the riverfront under Phase Three was approved by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg when he officiated at the opening of Phase Two last December.
As the minister in-charge of welfare, Fatimah also capitalised on her experience to help her constituents get the Dalat Welfare Complex project implemented – it was completed this year.
Fatimah, who is also the Dalat incumbent, played a major role in the planning and implementating of other projects, either under the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) or Minor Rural Project (MRP).
Other projects which have been completed in the last five years, among others, included Taman Solidariti and BazaarNita Fatima, both located in the bazaar. The Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (Centexs) Dalat branch is located nearby.
Oya also had its share of development in the last five years, and the major projects that have been implemented and completed included the Oya Square, Oya Walk, Oya Waterfront and Galeri Warisan Melanau (Melanau Heritage Gallery).
The Oya Waterfront has become a landmark and new attraction since it was completed this year, while the popular Pekan Sabtu (Saturday Market) continues to woo visitors every weekend.
Former Mukah Division temenggong Hendi Suhai, 68, is among those who witnessed the development taking place in Dalat.
According to him, the development covered all aspects, ranging from infrastructure, welfare, education, health to economy.
He added that Fatimah also paid equal attention in promoting racial unity, preserving and promoting local culture, youth development and empowerment and sports development, while practising religious tolerance.
Dalat has a good road network linking the bazaar to the villages such as Kampung Tanam Seberang/Kampung Balan, while the Jalan Dalat-Kampung Klid project is ongoing.
Hendi, a retired teacher from Oya, said further development was being implemented in Oya, such as the new sub-district office and Taman Solidariti & Rekreasi projects.
The retaining wall projects at the Oya Kaul site and Kuala Oya beach are expected to be implemented soon.
He revealed that the newly-completed high-level water tank in Kampung Sungai Kut Muara had solved the water supply problem faced by the people previously.
Hendi said he appreciated the contributions made by Fatimah to the constituency in the last five years, which he described as covering the mind, spirit and physical aspects of development.
He said Dalat still needed Fatimah to bring more development and hoped that she would retain her seat in the 12th Sarawak Election.
For Dalat Sago Smallholders Association chairman Pon Akie, 68, one of Fatimah’s major contributions was her continuous struggle in helping develop the sago industry in Sarawak, especially in this district.
The biennial Karnival Balau (Sago Carnival) was a manifestation of her deep commitment to helping sago farmers and the industry. However, it was not held last year or this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Her struggle culminated in the formation of the Nipah and Sago Industry Board (Linas), which was approved by Abang Johari when he officiated at an event in Mukah last August.
Fatimah mooted the idea and was instrumental in helping its formation, which initially was called the Sago Industry Development Board when it was proposed.
She suggested its formation when Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Modernisation and Agriculture Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas officiated at Karnival Balau about three years ago.
Pon hoped that Linus would help steer the sago and nipah industry to a higher level and bring more benefits to those involved.
He hoped that more development would be implemented here as Fatimah, with her good track record, is highly expected to retain her seat.
The sago industry is one of the major economic activities here and has contributed significantly to the development of this district for many years.
Currently, there are not fewer than three sago mills operating here, providing ready market for sago farmers to sell their logs, besides employment opportunities to locals.
The sago industry will continue to play its role and contribute to the economic development here.