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Sunday, May 1, 2016

S P E C I A L SUP P L E M E N T

MAN ON A

MISSION

AT 72, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has decided he is on the last leg of his political career – all he wants is another five-year term. There was a time when he thought it was all over for him when illness forced him out of politics and brought him to the brink of death and he thought his time was up. He not only recovered but was given a second bite of the cherry when he was tasked to take over the helm of the state by Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on Feb 28, 2014. Having taken up the challenge, he has set himself 53 principles and actions to achieve during his tenure. A glance at his list would have made even the bravest blanch, for it looks like a ‘mission impossible’, but Adenan believes in what he sets out to do. However, he also has his feet planted firmly on the ground and has no illusion that he could fulfil this mission on his own, which is why he has been calling on the people of Sarawak to back him up. His mind has y r r fe conceived his goals for the state, his heart believes ing for from s s o r c 1 er in what he sets out to do and with the people’s fees p wak to RM an 1, 2016. idge f r o B n o a i ) J g r t i a f c n r o u S i as ss support, he can achieve them. He needs not ask Red Lana ram, M s acro / RM15, t e a c i v a r s l . B se for a five-year mandate RM10 f tol(Batang Kuching) o n t RM5 / e v n i ( g e e en — the people should shmean Bridgin Bridge ave be & RM5 i h l s l o o o Ab u), As lahudd give the chance. nt sch mln (2015) or  a pende f ib (S Tun S and

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

CONTENTS E9-E10 E11

EDITORIAL

Editors

Phyllis Wong Francis Chan Stephanie Rae Siaw Ghaz Ghazali Ronnie Teo

Contributors Anasathia Jenis Anthony Aga Antonia Chiam Churchill Edward Drem Eikman Teo Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith Irene C Jacob Achoi Jacqueline Raphael James Lim Jennifer Laeng Jeremy Veno Jonathan Chia Karen Bong Lian Cheng Lim How Pim Marylin Ten Matthew Umpang Peter Sibon Philip Kiew Rintos Mail Saiful Bahari Samuel Aubrey Ting Tieng Hee Wilfred Pilo Yunus Yussop (Business) Adrian Lim Jonathan Wong Sharon Kong Yvonne Tuah

Photos Chimon Upon Muhammad Rais Sanusi Kong Jin Liung

Graphics & Layout Konos Jinal (Delegation) Pherirera Kolony (Delegation) Hassan Abang Tofek Izzuddin Datuk Ajibah Leonard Michael Debby Nawie Zairizi Mohamad Nurasyiqynn Haroun Camelia Andrew Mohammad Faisal Ahmad Noriezam Drahman Phoenicia Mavia Gregory Aaron Tan Nurhazwan Afiq Mohd Rafizi Ramli Mohd Sabri Raduan Paul Mathieus (ColourLab) Wong Yiik Hock Lai Siow Yew Petrus Bewen

NCR: Rights of the Natives

Kampung Segong — NCR programme’s success story

E12-E14

Pan Borneo Highway: Developing opportunities via accessibility

E15-E16

Tackling illegal logging and regulating timber industry

E17

Rural Electrification Scheme: Powering up rural areas

E18

Significant spending on water supply projects

E19-E20

Ensuring housing affordable for all Sarawakians

E21-E22

Education a subject close to his heart

E23-E24

Tremendous progress in healthcare and medical services

E25-E26

Advancing the rights of Sarawakian women

E30

Graphic summary of Adenan’s ‘53 Principles and Actions’

E31

Pride and honour for the Dayaks

E32-E33

Major boost for state’s tourism industry

E34-E35

Engaging and empowering youths

E36-E37

Anatomy of success for youth development in sports

E38

Telecommunications: All about inclusion in the digital era

E39

Leading Sarawak towards greater industrialisation

E40 E42 E43 E44

Adding value to Sarawak’s industries Of routes, bridges and tourism spots Kota Samarahan envisions city status by 2030 Bukit Semuja — Semi-urban constituency in rural setting

E45 E46

Agro-tourism a viable prospect for Gedong

E47

Accessibility a vital aspect for communities in Batang Lupar

E48

Agriculture, human capital fuel Betong’s growth

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Samalaju — A name synonymous with hi-tech industry

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Improved land connectivity a boon for Daro, Matu/Jemoreng

E51

Kuala Rajang to benefit from impact driven by SCORE

E52

The magic that is Murum

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Bukit Goram, Pelagus and Katibas: Focus on better connectivity

E54

Marudi poised to take the great leap forward

E55

Lawas to experience vibrant progress going forward

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Key pointers on Sarawak state constituencies

Lubok Antu — Cradle of Iban civilisation

The great fighter for Sarawakian rights

Preserving racial, religious harmony in Sarawak

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E3 & E4

Assuring the Chinese of their rights as citizens

E7 - E8

‘Give Adenan a Chance’ NEVER in the history of Sarawak has one man shouldered so much hope of the people and inspired them to dream of a future that they —until he spelt out his vision — never thought was possible.

Since he took over the helm of the state government on Feb 28, 2014, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has blazed a trail of reforms and set goals that have taken everyone by surprise. Although he has gained a reputation of being unconventional in his earlier political career, some of the ‘rules’ he changed have raised many eyebrows. “You can call me Adenan,” he famously quipped, and bewildered everyone when he invited the opposition to lunch to hear them out and reach out to them. However, it was when he declared his goals and initiatives that many people began to wonder if he was serious, or was he merely trying to make a big impression without any intention of achieving them. Stamp out corruption and illegal logging, get back the autonomy of the Sarawak as a region in Malaysia, increase the oil royalty to 20 per cent, recognise the UEC (Unified Education Certificate) — and the list goes on. The cynics and doubters were initially out in force scoffing at his ‘impossible dreams’ and predicting his gung-ho spirit would peter out once he faced the reality of the situation on the ground. More than two years into his stewardship of the

state, Adenan has proven everyone wrong — illegal logging has been dealt with a heavy blow, the state government has recognised the UEC, negotiation on devolution of power with the federal government is ongoing, tolls have been abolished and many other issues resolved. Adenan moved so fast in walking his talk that the opposition has been left floundering in the wake of his relentless drive to achieve his goals, prompting a parliamentarian to observe that at the rate he is going, the chief minister would render the opposition elected representatives jobless as he addresses the grouses they have been bringing up. However, Adenan has only just begun, despite all that he has achieved so far. He has set himself a deadline to bring about the transformation that he envisions for the state. He says he needs five more years to complete his mission, and it is up to the people of Sarawak to give him that mandate in the coming state election. For what he has done and plans to do, this man — who has ‘gone where the brave dare not go’ in his quest to bring a better tomorrow for the people — deserves to be given that chance. Give Adenan a chance. FRANCIS CHAN MANAGING EDITOR

Tackling illegal logging and regulating timber industry

E15 - E16

A man of principles and actions

E27 - E29

Aligning jobs with human capital in Sarawak

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The great fighter for Sarawakian rights SINCE becoming Chief Minister two years ago, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has truly proven himself to be the great fighter and protector of Sarawakian rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Adenan’s endeavours have even received the backing of the opposition in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN). Last December, the August House unanimously approved a resolution mandating the state government safeguard the state’s special interests, including regarding education and the use of the English language. As a lawyer, Adenan implicitly understands MA63 — a document that protects the Borneo states. Based on MA63, Adenan has taken a strong stance on defending Sarawak’s autonomy. His bold move has been lauded by Sarawakians from all walks of life. Many, especially those who understand their rights under the Inter-Governmental Committee Report (ICGR) and MA63, regard Adenan as the first Sarawakian leader who is really fighting for Sarawak’s rights. His endeavours have also received praise from leaders and activists in Sabah, who feel that he has invited Putrajaya to the negotiation table the ‘gentleman’s way’. The author of ‘The Queen’s Obligation’, Zainnal Ajamain said Adenan was doing the right thing and all Sarawakians should give him (Adenan) their full support so that he could proceed with his structured negotiations to get back Sarawak’s autonomous rights. Political analyst Datuk Peter Minos said Adenan’s boldness in

starting negotiations on the state’s autonomy should be the pride of many Sarawakians. Minos said based on feedback from visits throughout the state, most members of the public from all races look forward to Adenan’s success in getting Sarawak’s rights back. “Many of them whom I talked to said Adenan has alerted Kuala Lumpur that Sarawak has been neglected since 1963 and that something must be done about it. Aside from more funds, he has also asked for the necessary powers to accelerate development in Sarawak.

“Autonomy is really close in our hearts — a very important issue for all Sarawakians today. The people I met have all expressed their full support for Adenan and to them, the chief minister is a great defender of Sarawak’s rights.” Despite facing criticism, Adenan has already started to reap what he has sown. Following his negotiations with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Adenan has managed to regain 13 points of administrative empowerment.

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Adenan delivers his speech at the Sejiwa Senada programme in Sibu on Jan 16, when he announced he would meet with Najib to settle arrangements for the devolution of power to the state. He is flanked by Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (left) and Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.


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(From sixth left) Najib meets with Adenan to discuss the state’s autonomy on Jan 20. State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani is at third right, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali is at fourth left, while Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa is at fifth left.

FROM PAGE E3

The chief minister said in the second phase, the state government will negotiate on rights and the Constitution, development planning and implementation of federal projects. “In the third phase, we will be discussing on matters such as oil royalty, Sarawak’s stake in oil and gas resources, validity of Territorial Waters Act, Continental Shelf Act, Petroleum Development Act and financial provisions,” he said. Adenan said the second and third phases of the devolution of power negotiations would include a list of encroachment of powers and non-compliance by the federal authorities. Matters like tourism was a residual matter but under the Constitution Amendment of 1994, listed as item 25 (a) in the Federal List with effect from 1994. Now he wants that power to be delegated back to Sarawak. “Preservation of heritage was a residual matter but under the Constitution, listed as item 9 (e) in the Concurrent List. Sports was a residual matter but under the Constitution Amendment, listed as item 9 (b) in the Concurrent List,” he explained. Adenan also noted that although environment is not listed, the Environment Quality Act was made applicable to the state in 1975, despite the existence of the state’s Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance. “As for shipping, Merchant Shipping Act Amendment and Extension Act was extended to Sarawak despite the state’s objection. This amendment affects certain rights of the state, for example, as stated in the Sarawak Land Code,” he said. With the second phase to start in due course, Adenan has called on Sarawakians to give him a resounding mandate in the upcoming state election. “Because of these phases, I need more time and that is why I seek a mandate from the people of Sarawak. If I’m given a big mandate, I’ll be in stronger position to negotiate our rights with the federal government,” he pointed out. Oil royalty Fighting for a higher oil royalty from five to 20 per cent from the federal government has been one of Adenan’s main agendas since taking office on March 1, 2014. This demand has also received unanimous support from the DUN. One of his achievements in this area has been a 10 per cent stake in Malaysia Liquefied

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Adenan (seated second right) reads out the provisions of administrative empowerment to the state government on Jan 21. Seated from left are Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Dato Sri Michael Manyin, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh. Standing from right are Abdullah Saidol – chief political secretary to the Chief Minister, and Assistant Minister of Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications) Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

Because of these phases, I need more time and that is why I seek a mandate from the people of Sarawak. If I’m given a big mandate, I’ll be in stronger position to negotiate our rights with the federal government. Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Chief Minister

Natural Gas Sdn Bhd (MLNG) 4 following negotiations with Petronas. “Petronas has agreed to originally offer us 5 per cent in MLNG 4 but they have now agreed to increase to 10 per cent. This is some progress and we will continue with our negotiation,” Adenan said in August 2014. Another achievement has been getting at least RM2.1 billion worth of contracts for Sarawak companies as part of an agreement to increase local participation in the oil and gas industry. As global oil prices have gone down drastically, Adenan has decided to ease demands from the federal government for the time being, but has vowed to raise this matter again once prices rebound.

English as the second official Language Adenan’s far-sightedness in making English the state’s second language and preferred official language of the state administration has been lauded by Sarawakians. The chief minister has also made it clear that the move would not replace the national language of Bahasa Malaysia. “We can develop both English and Bahasa Malaysia and with that, we will be bilingual or even trilingual. I’m not saying to the exclusion of Bahasa Malaysia. I’m saying (we should emphasise) Bahasa Malaysia and English together.” Adenan explained that English is the global language of commerce, science, technology, literature as well as diplomacy and to ignore English would be impractical.

“I know there are some lingual-nationalists amongst us. They disagree with the official adoption of the English language, saying it is the language of our colonial masters. This is true but English is no longer the language of the Anglo-Saxons. “It is the language of the world and if you don’t want to be left behind, you must join the bandwagon. Otherwise, you will be left behind and look stupid,” stressed Adenan. He pointed out that past education policies, which ignored the importance of English, have failed human capital development by constantly churning out unemployable graduates who cannot string together a sentence in English. Adenan added that such policies have set the country back by 10 years. “It is high time we come to our realisation that English ought to be the second language in Malaysia. The first language is of course Bahasa Malaysia, being the national language that we are proud of. But why can’t we be bilingual at the same time?” he questioned.

Adenan (left) is seen with Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein on Feb 11. Hishamuddin said his ministry would announce plans to further guarantee the sovereignty, safety and pride of Sarawak and its people.

Points Administrative Empowerment

1. State legal officers are to be authorised by the public prosecutor under the Criminal Procedure Code to conduct prosecution for offences under state Ordinances from when a person is charged in the lower court until the appeal stage. 2. It is also agreed for the

delegation of power to state officers to represent the Public Service Commission and the Education Service Commission in the appointment of officers to the Federal Civil Service including the teaching and medical services.

3. Posts in the state Immigration Department will also be enhanced to improve the enforcement functions in the state with an increase of 100 new posts to be filled by Sarawakians, with full deployment by the end of February 2016.

Sarawak local authorities will be given to Miri City Council, apart from Kuching North City Hall and Kuching South City Council.

6. The state government will be

consulted before an applicant for a deep sea fishing permit is forwarded to the Deep Sea Permit Evaluation Committee for consideration, especially when the licence is to operate in Sarawak waters.

4. The ratio of Sarawak-born teachers serving in Sarawak will be increased to 90 per cent of the total number of teachers in Sarawak by 2018. To ensure that this target is achieved, temporary teachers from the open market will be considered from time to time and obtain their Diploma in Education while teaching.

7. The state government will first be consulted in the drafting of federal legislation which has bearing or impact on the Sarawak government, where provided by law.

5. Traffic warden powers for

8. The planning of federal

government projects in the state will give priority to the five-year Sarawak State Development Plan based on the approved budget. Implementation of the projects will be referred/negotiated between the ministry and the state government in areas such as determining the location of schools, hospitals, appointment of consultants, developers and contractors as well as the implementation of other development projects.

9. The ministry will take the

necessary measures to increase the number of student enrolment from amongst Sarawakians into medical degree programmes in public universities. Sarawakians

would be given greater opportunity to enter foundation studies programmes at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

10. It is agreed that the relevant areas that can be delegated will be identified for delegating the power of the director-general under Section 49 of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to the state officers or departments. 11. Development of housing

projects in Sarawak will be reimplemented through a joint committee meeting to ensure that the state agencies are fully involved in the planning, implementation and monitoring aspects of these projects in Sarawak.

12. It is agreed that the

development of sports in Sarawak is jointly managed with the state government. The Ministry of Youth and Sports is also in the process of enhancing the Sports Development Act 1997, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

13. It is agreed that the state government will carry out all functions under the Department of Welfare. All posts will be transferred to the state civil service. The federal government will contribute 50 per cent of the costs incurred as decided by the National Finance Council.


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Preserving racial, religious harmony in Sarawak RACIAL harmony and religious acceptance in Sarawak have always been the pride of its people and wonder of outsiders. This is the state where a mosque and church constructed side by side share their carparks for their worshippers. Different races join in the festive celebrations of their friends and neighbours and sit down in coffee shops to drink together. However, racial and religious harmony is fragile and could be destroyed by outside influence and Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem is acutely aware of the danger posed by outsiders to the peaceful way of life in the state. One of the first steps he took as Chief Minister of Sarawak was to declare racial harmony a state policy. Adenan emphasised the implementation of this policy in his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message last year when he reminded Sarawakians to preserve their racial unity and religious acceptance that had been the cornerstone of the state’s peace and progress. He warned that a divided society – with each race only prioritising the interest of their own people – would stunt the state’s progress and destroy the way of life that Sarawakians had been enjoying. His warning was timely as there had been a growing danger that outsiders could be sowing the seeds of racial and religious discord. Following up his words with action, he announced on March 21, 2014, that religious bigots, racists and trouble-makers would be barred from entering Sarawak and would deport any outsider stoking racial or religious tension. “This is to prevent peaceful Sarawakians from being infected by racism and religious bigotry. This is done only in the best interest of the peaceful people of Sarawak, who are known to be hospitable and moderate in their views and actions,” Adenan said. Turning words into action There were many who doubted Adenan would live up to his words but he

quickly silenced the doubters within a month of taking office, by invoking Section 66 of the Immigration Act 1963 to bar the entry of three PKR top leaders — vice president Tian Chua,

secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and strategy director Rafizi Ramli — into Sarawak in the run-up of the Balingian state by-election on March 22, 2014. Saifuddin arrived first in Sibu

from Kuala Lumpur in the morning and was sent back on the next flight, while Chua and Rafizi who came in the

This photo is a reflection of harmony in Sarawak. Second Resources Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, a Malay (first row, fourth left), is flanked by little Renee, a Chinese, on his right and Eunice, an Iban. Awang Tengah contributed financially to help the girls, both suffering from hearing impairment. Assistant ministers Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, a Bidayuh, and Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi, an Iban (back row, from right) also chipped in to help. KTS group managing director Datuk Henry Lau (behind Awang Tengah), a Chinese, matched whatever amount contributed by the assistant ministers, while Dr Toh Teck Hock and Dr Tang Ing Ping (left and second left, respectively) — both Chinese — offered their medical expertise. Also joining the photo-call were Awang Tengah’s wife Datuk Dayang Morliah Awang Daud, who is next to little Renee, and Datuk Lau’s wife Datin Wendy Lau.

Rest assured that any proposal to alter or remove any of these constitutional safeguards would be brought by the state government to the attention of this House for deliberation and its endorsement would be sought. Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Chief Minister

afternoon suffered the same fate. However, PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was allowed to stay. PBB supreme council member Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, in response to accusation that the ban was to prevent opposition leaders from entering the state, said there was no political motive behind the ban. He said the ban was only applied on those whom the state felt were undesirable and had the tendency to create disharmony among the races. “Preserving racial harmony is not easy. We do not want this harmony that we have built up for all these years be destroyed by personalities from Peninsular Malaysia, who will just leave us in disarray after they have created havoc,” explained Abdul Karim. This explanation was later substantiated when Malay supremacist Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali was also stopped from entering the state. Controversial lecturer Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, who was invited to give a speech at a religious function at Lundu mosque on Dec 26, 2014, was also turned back after arriving at Kuching International Airport. Rising above ‘Allah’ controversy When the furore over the

usage of the word ‘Allah’ by Christians in their worship and Bible was raging in Peninsular Malaysia, Adenan stood high above the issue by declaring that the word ‘Allah’ could be used by Christians in Sarawak, and that there would be no restriction of any sort placed on Bahasa Malaysia Bible used in Sarawak. Adenan, who was educated in St Joseph Secondary School, has promised Christians in Sarawak that as long as he was the chief minister, he would make sure that they could use the word ‘Allah’ in their worship and literature. When Kelantan passed the bill on implementation of Hudud (Islamic criminal law) in its state assembly and tried to table it in Parliament, Adenan again rose to the occasion by declaring that he would not allow Hudud to be implemented in Sarawak. “Rest assured that any proposal to alter or remove any of these constitutional safeguards would be brought by the state government to the attention of this House for deliberation and its endorsement would be sought,” promised Adenan in his winding-up speech at the May 2014 State Legislative Assembly sitting.

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‘Don’t mess with me’ on illegal immigrants issue FROM PAGE E5 The chief minister is also aware of the threat posed by illegal immigrants in the state. Many of them were Suluks from Southern Philippines and had been living in coastal areas near Miri for years, working as fishermen for local syndicates. Their presence was well known to the locals, especially fishermen whose livelihood was affected by their presence, but numerous reports to the authorities showed that nothing had been done. On March 11, after years of angry silence, some Miri fishermen found their voice through The Borneo Post and raised the issue of these aggressive Suluk fishermen, who had been jeopardising the local fishing industry by using methods not permitted by the Malaysian Fisheries Department such as fish bombs and poison. When Adenan heard about it, he vowed to go all out to rid the state of illegal immigrants before they became too big a problem to tackle, such as that experienced by Sabah. He said it plainly — it ‘irked’ him that the Immigration Department had been informed about the problem originating from the Philippines since 2014, but failed to act on it. He instructed enforcement agencies to work together and put a stop to the influx of illegal immigrants, to prevent Sarawak from ending up like Sabah. More than a week later, 155 illegal immigrants, mainly the Suluks and Bajaus, were arrested at two squatter colonies in Batu Satu Lutong and near Pujut 7 Bridge, in Miri. Within the next two months, integrated operations headed by the Immigration Department, police, General Operations Force, Rela, Land and Survey Department, Sarawak Energy Bhd, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Marine

KAPITAN DATUK JANET LAU

Miri fishermen saluting Adenan for his prompt action in handling the problem of illegal Filipino fishermen. Fisheries Department and marine police were conducted. “They say I don’t mean business on illegal immigrants in Sarawak. You know what is happening in Miri now? You have Filipinos — 500 to 700 of them — living in and around Miri and they (enforcers) don’t know about it? “We warned the Immigration Department one year ago, but nothing has been done since. A

problem that was small has now become a big problem. Raids will continue and more will be arrested. “As far as Sarawak is concerned, don’t mess with me.” Following the state’s clampdown on illegal immigrants, more than 500 Suluks voluntarily came forward and expressed their desire to return to the Philippines. Apart from illegal immigrants in the coastal areas, raids were carried

out at construction sites and palm oil plantations to flush out illegal immigrants from other neighbouring countries. Aye to solid stance The chief minister’s strong stance on racial harmony and religious tolerance in the state has been lauded by the people. Sarawak Kenyah National Association president Kennedy Chukpai Ugom said racial harmony should not be taken for granted and Adenan understood that. “Some may think that since there is racial peace and religious harmony in Sarawak, it is not necessary to do anything about it. However, due to aggressive elements outside the state such as extremist views and racial superiority, it is wise for Adenan to just block entry of those who could stir up disharmony through their rhetoric.” Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) president Jisin Nyuk said the changes made by Adenan showed that he had all Sarawakians in his heart, regardless of race and religion. “We have always been a multiracial society and Adenan has made sure that there is nothing to jeopardise it.” Chinese community leader Kapitan

JISIN NYUK Datuk Janet Lau remarked: “Adenan is not only aware of the needs of different races, have to be looked into to maintain racial harmony, he also notices that the needs of different social groups should also be taken into consideration.” Being the widow of the late Sibu MP Datuk Robert Lau, she is familiar with what has been going in Sarawak and the whole nation and she could sense the impact of Adenan’s policies in maintaining state harmony. “State harmony means creating a fair and equal society, and

The state Immigration Department has been taking action against overstaying immigrants, following Adenan’s instruction to rid the state of illegal immigrants. Standing on third left is former Immigration director Datu Robert Lian.

KENNEDY CHUKPAI UGOM that means looking after those marginalised and less fortunate. So Adenan has gone one step further by tackling the needs of the marginalised — first by announcing the increase of financial aid for the disabled and recently, making known his commitment to gender equality. “He wanted the law to change so that women are on par with men. What’s most impressive is that it was his own initiative — not a reaction to protests by some NGOs (non-governmental organisations) or women’s rights groups.”


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After years of development, Chinese education has become not only for Chinese, but also for those from other races. In many Chinese primary schools in the state’s rural areas, it is common that the non-Chinese population is higher than that of the Chinese.

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With Adenan’s open policy, Chinese educators can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Assuring the Chinese of their rights as citizens ONE of the biggest challenges that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem faced when he took over the helm of the state government was to win back the Chinese support for Barisan Nasional (BN). To do that, he has identified the key issues that have caused the community to turn their backs on the government and tackle them head-on. Education The single most important issue among the Chinese is ‘education’ – in every settlement and town that they settle in, one of the first community projects they would undertake was to set up a school. These schools were not only to provide their children education, but equally important, they were set up to preserve their cultural identity. Today, Chinese schools still occupy a central position in the Chinese community and the teaching profession is still one of the most revered among them. To preserve Chinese as the medium of instruction, some Chinese schools chose to remain independent while the rest opted to become government-aided schools. However, maintaining independent schools while keeping their fees at a reasonable level is a constant challenge, despite generous contributions from the community. Chinese independent schools run by boards comprising community leaders are usually stretched to the limit in their expenditure to keep going. Aware of this predicament, Adenan came to the aid of the community and soon after he became chief minister in 2014, he announced a RM3 million grant from the state to Chinese private secondary schools through Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Management Board. He promised that the allocation would increase by RM1 million the next year and proved true to his words when the Independent Schools Board of Management received a grant of RM4 million last year, and on Mar 9 this year,

this situation, Adenan soothed this raw nerve among the Chinese by assuring Chinese leaders from all over the state during a closed door meeting at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on June 26, 2014 – that the Chinese are not not ‘pendatang’, and acknowledged the Chinese’s contribution towards nation-building. “You are not ‘pendatang’. Maybe your great great-grandfather was, but after two to three generations, you are Malaysian citizens residing in Sarawak. So let us not forget that. Let us make that clear that you are not ‘pendatang’ – not after three or four generations; and the contributions you have made to the Malaysian economy. “The Chinese community has been the workforce of the Malaysian economy. I hope that it’s very clear,” said Adenan in the meeting.

The Chinese are not ‘pendatang’. They are just as Malaysian as the rest across this nation another RM5 million was given. Since taking over the helm of the state government, Adenan has allocated RM12 million to Chinese Independent schools. The chief minister did not see the state grants as a contribution to the Chinese community only, as many there were also many Bumiputera students in Chinese schools. “Many Bumiputera parents are sending their children to Chinese schools and in some of these schools, as much as 90 per cent of the student population are Bumiputeras,” said Adenan when opening the new school building for Chung Hua Primary School (CHPS) No 1 in Kuching on Feb 4 this year. He was pleased that Bumiputera students constituted more than 20

The KTS Trust Fund offers bursaries and scholarships for students of all races.

per cent of the student population in CHPS No 1 and on that occasion, he pledged RM500,000 for the Board of Management for Kuching CHPS No 1 to 6. Apart from urban Chinese schools, Adenan also helped rural Chinese schools. On July 2 last year, Kapitan Tay Aik Seng, the Chinese community leader of Kampung Penakub — a village in Mukah — who is also chairman of SJKC Ek Hua Rebuiling Committee, told The Borneo Post of the dire situation of the school, which was built in 1930. The school has only one block and is in need of a new double-storey concrete building to replace it. Over the years, the Chinese community in Kampung Penakub

Kapitan Tay Aik Seng has highlighted the problem affecting SJKC Ek Hua to the media. tried to raise RM1 million to build the new block but by July last year, they managed to raise only RM400,000. Tay wrote to Adenan for help and the chief minister responded by giving a state grant of RM200,000 for school building fund. The grant not only helped the Chinese community as more than 80 students making up more than 50 per cent of the school’s enrolment are Melanaus from the nearby Kampung Penakub Cina, Kampung Sesok and Kampung Sesok Baru. National identity and citizenship The early settlers from China had their heart set on returning to their homeland after making their fortune in ‘Nanyang’ (South Sea), which broadly refers to the region

encompassing South East Asia. However, with the passing of time and having settled comfortably in their new homes, the thought of returning to China began to fade among the first generation and completely disappeared among the later generations. Malaysian Chinese have always felt aggrieved that some quarters in Peninsular Malaysia still call them ‘pendatang’ (immigrants) when they were born and raised in Malaysia. Almost all Malaysian citizens who are Chinese are at least the second-generation descendants of the pioneer settlers, who came from China – some of whom put down their roots in Malaysia more than 100 years ago. Recognising their grouse over

Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) A longstanding grievance among the Chinese is the refusal of the Education Ministry to recognise the UEC — the Chinese medium school’s equivalent to the STPM undertaken by the Form 6 students. As such, the UEC became almost worthless in Malaysia as it could not be used as a qualification to enter universities or apply for government jobs or scholarships. Adenan came to the rescue of UEC graduates when he announced on Nov 4 last year, that the state government would recognise the certificate. His rational was that Malaysia was the only country that did not recognise the UEC, which resulted in a ‘brain drain’, as UEC holders were forced to study abroad and eventually work there. “I don’t care what the federal government does. I recognise them (UEC) in Sarawak and I am prepared to stand up for it,” said Adenan at Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Integrity Day 2015. This landmark breakthrough sent a wave of applause from the Chinese community, especially those involved in Chinese education. The state government’s recognition of UEC opened a floodgate of opportunities for students of Chinese upper secondary schools as they now can apply for loans or scholarships from Yayasan Sarawak. Soon UEC holders will be able to apply to study in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Sarawak Branch after some details have been ironed out. Adenan said UEC had been recognised by many tertiary institutions across the world and it would be ‘stupid’ for Malaysia not to recognise it. He pointed out that if the government allowed foreigners to come to Unimas to study, then he could not understand why local UEC holders should not be allowed the same opportunity. “You allow foreigners to study here because Malaysia wants to be an education hub, but why don’t you allow UEC holders (to study in local public university)? This is stupid!” said Adenan.

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Chinese community: What they have to say FROM PAGE E7 THE dwindling number of Chinese in the civil service was another grouse that Adenan addressed through the recognition of UEC in job application in the government sector. “If the federal government does not recognise the UEC, that is its

KUCHING Division Taxi Association chairman Chong Foo Seng said the Chinese community had not been supportive of the BN government because they felt that they were being sidelined and neglected. However, he said under Adenan’s governance, things had changed – some policies such as the acceptance of UEC came as a pleasant surprise. However, Chong said it might be too soon to see a complete turnaround.

Over the years, a deep distrust against the government has been building up. It will take the policies to really take effect before the Chinese are convinced that Adenan means what he says. The policies (so far) have yet to take effect. However, the Chief Minister has already won over my vote even at this stage.

SARAWAK United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Management Board vice-chairman Richard Wee said whatever Adenan announced or did, it was what the Chinese community had wanted all these years.

This shows that he listens to the community and tries to be fair to us. His people-centric policies have shown that he is indeed the ‘Chief Minister for All’ – a true chief minister of the people.

CHUNG Hua Middle School No 1 principal Yap Chong Guan said, the recognition of UEC might not completely stop the brain drain from the state, but it would reduce the number of young graduates immigrating to other countries. Yap said while the Adenan’s administration had been fair to the Chinese, the Chinese should also reciprocate with fair judgment of government’s policy.

Because the government now recognises UEC, some students may be encouraged to stay back to continue their studies in local universities; and some holders may want to apply for jobs in the civil service. There would be a higher chance that we can retain local talents.

Learning Chinese is now a global trend due to the rise of China as the world’s second largest economic power.

business. The Sarawak government will allow (UEC) certificate holders to apply for civil servant positions.” He reiterated that the state government’s decision to accept UEC holders in its state public service and university was not for political mileage, but as an effort to help Chinese independent schools and a part of ‘good governance’.

Adenan, through his bold reforms and initiatives, has done more than any leader in the state’s history in assuring the Chinese of their rights as citizens — but has he done enough to swing their support to BN? A sampling of responses from several members of the community gives a clear indication of this.

Chung Hua Middle School No 1 Senior Two student Kho Voon Chee, 18 VOON CHEE is an impressive student because of her maturity in understanding government’s policies and the reasons for the implementation of some policies.

In Sarawak, we are actually OK – we don’t make distinction between different races, and we don’t have people with extreme views telling the Chinese to go back China. I understand why there is a policy to help the Bumiputeras. The government needs to give special attention to the Bumiputeras so that all races could progress together. Of course from the Chinese community’s perspective, such special attention may not seem fair; while for the Bumiputeras, perhaps they feel that the government has not done enough. Both Bumiputeras and Chinese have their own considerations.

Chung Hua Middle School No 1 Senior Two student Zoe Aw, 18 ZOE said the recognition of UEC gave a sense of acceptance to those receiving education in Chinese independent schools.

There has been a general perception that those attending Chinese private schools are not patriotic. My friends from national schools think that people like us from Chinese private schools do not love Malaysia. They think that once we graduate, we would all further our studies overseas and later migrate to other countries.That is not true. Now with the state government is recognising UEC, I think such perception would change.

Chung Hua Middle School No 1 Senior Two student Ivy Kuang Yi Ting, 18 THE recognition of UEC, to Ivy, is the beginning of fair policy of the state government.

I hope following the recognition of UEC, the state government would bring forth other fair policies that benefit all races. All races must grow together so that nobody is left behind. After that, they would be no distinction made between races or schools that Sarawakians attend; that everyone is just the same regardless of race or the schools that they go to.


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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem (front, fourth right) joins NCR land titleholders from Samariang and Tupong state constituencies in a recent presentation. From left are Sajeli, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar and Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof.

There are bound to be certain quarters wanting to provoke the people, saying that the purpose of the perimeter survey initiative was for the government to distinguish and separate which should be government land, and which NCR land. The government is sincere in its recognition of NCR land to ensure that the people’s rights over their land would be championed and rural development accelerated.

Datu Sajeli Kipli, Sarawak Land and Survey Department director

Land surveying works also include wading through swamps and rivers.

NCR: Rights of the Natives AS at December last year, the Land and Survey Department carried out perimeter survey on 748,167 hectares (ha) of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land covering 465 areas across the state, exceeding its initial target of 730,000ha when the New NCR Land Initiative was launched in 2010. Over the last five years, 319 areas covering 463,175ha have been gazetted as communal reserves under Section 6 of the Land Code. This year, the native community will have more reason to celebrate as the department embarks on surveying individual plots. According to Land and Survey Department director Datu Sajeli Kipli, Phase II of the new NCR survey initiative will prioritise on conducting survey on individual lots for the issuance of perpetuity land titles under Section 18 of the Land Code. The new NCR initiative, under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), is a joint effort by the federal

NCR New Initiative Programme — Surveyed Areas (March 31st 2016) Division Kuching Sri Aman Sibu Miri Limbang Sarikei Kapit Samarahan Bintulu Mukah Betong

Hectarage 59,420 57,186 134,822 38,715 17,316 141,189 70,958 75,232 52,630 6,210 94,489

Total NCR Perimeter Surveyed State Government 2010-2015 Target NCR Perimeter Survey Initiative Cost For 2010-2015

and state government, which commenced in 2010. Sarawak land area is 12.44 million ha and the NCR land is estimated at 1.5 million ha. “The state government has

Landowners are required to be present with Land and Survey officers during surveying works to confirm land boundary.

Number of areas 62 65 52 27 47 24 30 37 37 32 52

748,167ha; involving 465 areas across Sarawak 730,000ha RM104 million

always recognised NCR. We have been surveying native land for the people since time immemorial, without having to wait for the federal government’s help. Under the new NCR survey initiative,

perimeter survey was the first phase of NCR land recognition that would be followed by individual lot survey.

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Rugged off-road tracks are some of challenges faced by the surveyors throughout the course of their duties.


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S P E C I A L S UP P L E ME NT

Tackling challenges in perimeter survey works FROM PAGE E9

Determining boundary with clear markers is crucial in facilitating any surveying work.

Land and Survey personnel even travel by sea to reach some of the places where they need to conduct the perimeter survey.

Surveying work is indeed a challenging task — sometimes the surveyor is required to climb up hilly terrains to determine the exact points for the survey.

“This is our effort to get native landowners’ rights preserved and their ownership properly documented. In the long run, they can embark on commercial projects to improve their socio-economy and inadvertently accelerate rural development,” he said during a recent interview at his office in Wisma Pelita in Petra Jaya, Kuching. Sajeli added that perpetuity land titles would be issued without any premium or annual fees paid to the department. Prior to the individual lot survey initiative, Land and Survey Department had conducted a pilot project in Bau on ‘trial-and-error’ basis, to ensure that implementation would go smoothly once it is carried out statewide. Every details on project methods and challenges were recorded for future references, guidelines and learning process to improve service to the community. “Although the Phase II of the individual lot survey under Section 18 starts this year, we have carried out pilot projects in Skuduk, Padawan in 2012 and Pisa, Bau, in 2014. Experience gained from these projects has given us valuable insight on how to improve our surveying works. “It will become our guideline as the pilot projects have prepared us both physically and mentally to ensure a smooth surveying work and issuance of individual land titles — the one that everybody is highly anticipating,” said Sajeli. On a whole, the Land and Survey Department issued 3,114 individual NCR land titles as at Jan 31 this year, out of 4,562 surveyed lots.

Overcoming negative perception

Explaining to the rural community on the benefit of having their NCR land surveyed

sibilit y during n o sp re s r’ e n w o Land ividual lot surveying of ind hing ries and establis Identify bounda clear markers. t together with to confirm  Be presen ndowners neighbouring la n surveying works he w ry the bounda t. ou d ie are carr from the land is free her  Ensure that ot om fr spute claims by, or di s. al du indivi

e Two Phases of th tive ia it New NCR Land In

eter survey on Conducting perimzetted as ga NCR land to be munal Reserve m Co a er ut ip m Bu of the State under Section 6 Land Code. on the individual lots e under  Surveying rv se unal re gazetted comm issuance of e th r fo 6, on 18 Section titles under Secti nd la ty ui et rp pe Code. of the State Land

land Benefits of NCR iative y init perimeter surve

ts native land righ Recognition of over land curity to rights  Ensuring se boundaries  Clear land rship stration of owne  Official regi ent of land on in developm  No restric ti

remains one of the biggest challenges faced by the Land and Survey Department. Sajeli said his perimeter survey teams

had faced various constraints in discharging their duties — among the challenges included blockades, claims on areas and rugged geographical terrain. On the other hand, he admitted that some of his officers needed to improve their methods of convincing people about the benefits of having their NCR land surveyed. “Government’s effort to survey NCR land for the people should not be misunderstood. There are bound to be certain quarters wanting to provoke the people, saying that the purpose of the perimeter survey initiative was for the government to distinguish and separate which should be government land, and which NCR land. The government is sincere in its recognition of NCR land to ensure that the people’s rights over their land would be championed and rural development accelerated,” he added. Sajeli said to ensure success of the NCR perimeter survey initiative, it would heavily depend on the cooperation from all parties. “Challenges are not only during field work, but also on planning and administration at the district office level. “The department is firm on its stand that claims must be based on legitimate evidence and that priority is given to areas without any dispute, as there are still huge areas to be surveyed as requested by the people. “The success to this perimeter surveying process would rely on the cooperation rendered by the local community as well as the collective agreement of the landowners from that particular village or longhouse,” he explained. Sajeli also highlighted the occupational hazards faced by his officers during field work, as among the obstacles.


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Kampung Segong — NCR programme’s success story

1 ONCE Kampung Segong received its Native Customary Rights (NCR) communal reserves under Section 6 of the Land Code in 2009, mother-of-three Catherine Tambi immediately embarked on larger-scale paddy and pepper planting, with the aim to raise income for her family. She and her husband also established a fish pond to complement the cash crops. Six years on, life has been a bliss for the 51-year-old and her lot. Catherine is among the over 1,900 villagers of Kampung Segong in Singai, Bau, who have benefitted from the issuance of the communal NCR land reserves. The members of the close-knit community share the reserves evenly amongst themselves to ensure that the land would stay productive — although close to 300 families have yet to be awarded individual land titles under Section 18. “When my husband and I first planted the black pepper, we earned about RM3,000 from the yield per season. Two years after the NCR land was gazetted in our village, we became more confident to expand our agriculture projects, knowing that we had the freedom and rights over our native land. “In 2012, we generated about RM8,000 from our pepper plants and we planted more after that. Now we have 500 plants — last year, we earned about RM19,000,” she said in a recent interview. Catherine said the quality of life of her family had greatly improved after they doubled their agriculture activities. They were able to raise their children more comfortably and now, the children have graduated and are building careers of their own. Asked about the prospect of finally receiving their own individual NCR land title following Phase II of the perimeter survey undertaken by the Land and Survey Department this year, Catherine was content. “Nevertheless, I am happy with the communal reserves awarded to Kampung Segong as it has given us the freedom to embark on our agriculture projects. The villagers used to be uncertain on what would happen to their crops as the NCR land did not officially belong to us. “Now we can go all out with our agriculture activities, knowing that we have rights to the land,” she continued. According to village chief Amy Munga, all the villagers are welcome to use the 11hectare communal NCR land for economic activities. In March 2009, about 45

4 When my husband and I first planted the black pepper, we earned about RM3,000 from the yield per season. Two years after the NCR land was gazetted in our village, we became more confident to expand our agriculture projects, knowing that we had the freedom and rights over our native land. Catherine Tambi

2 villagers participated in the Farmers Development Unit (FDU) initiative in a joint venture to plant pineapples. The first crop registered a windfall of about RM14,000 in 2010.

3

In addition, some of the villagers had also taken up planting other crops such as cocoa, pepper and paddy on their own. “Most importantly, all villagers

are welcome to use this land for agriculture purposes,” said the 47year-old community leader. However, Amy admitted that not everything was always a bed of roses

for the villagers. Previously, some of them had opposed to having the perimeter survey carried out. After a few rounds of discussion, everybody eventually agreed to the initiative. “We are lucky to be given a communal land that will become a reserve for the whole village community,” he said, advising other villages to support the government’s NCR perimeter survey initiative. “Do adhere to government

procedure, do not listen to the negative elements. If compared with villages that did not support this initiative, our village has proven that having the official rights to our NCR land enable us to conduct farming and other agriculture activities without any restriction. We no longer worry that the land would be claimed by others,” he explained. Milong Munin, 51, considered the village to be lucky to have been given a communal native land that can be used by the whole community. With the issuance of title, he said villagers no longer have any doubts to embark on projects to improve livelihood and sustainable income.

1

Catherine inspects her pepper vines. This enterprising woman currently has about 500 black pepper plants, earning close to RM20,000 from the yield last year.

2

(From right) Amy, Milong and Catherine are already planning to diversify the cash crops under Kampung Segong’s FDU initiative. Currently, the area is used for pineapple plantation.

3

The expanse of the pineapple plantation, run under the FDU initiative.

4

Catherine’s pepper farm, located at the foot of a hill under her paddy plot.


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S P E C I A L S UP P L E ME NT The Pan Borneo Highway, the biggest engineering project in Malaysia, would be Najib’s legacy to be remembered by the people of Sarawak. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem

Pan Borneo Highway

Developing Opportunities via Accessibility THE RM16.4-billion Sarawak stretch of the in-progress Pan Borneo Highway, spanning 1,089km between Sematan and Lawas, will become a ‘game changer’ as far as the state’s economic landscape in concerned. The project will become the catalyst to boost the state’s economic growth, expected to induce a multiplier effect of four times. Improvements to the transport infrastructure will increase the general development of the region and encourage wider foreign investments. Not only that the highway would be toll-free to all road users, it would significantly cut travelling time from 19 hours to 12 hours (Sabah-Sarawak) when fully completed by 2021. Over time, it would spur development of new areas, similar to the impact deriving from the North-South Expressway in Peninsular Malaysia. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the construction of Pan Borneo Highway when he unveiled the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s manifesto on April 6, 2013. Najib, also Finance Minister, cemented this

Combo photo-set show the aerial view of Jalan Bakun Junction leading to Sungai Tangap.

How will it benefit us? 

 

The construction of the Pan Borneo Highway will induce a multiplier effect of four times to the economy Boom for trade and commerce Significantly lower accident rate on the highway versus normal roads Savings on travelling time, fuel consumption and transportation cost for road users Highways promote economic growth, which will contribute to the capital market

promise when he included the construction of the highway in the 2015 Budget.

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Najib points to the ‘Zero Milestone’ at the commencement ceremony for the Pan Borneo Highway project — Telok MelanoSematan stretch — in Sematan. From right are Adenan, Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and Manyin

Project aimed at ‘transforming lives and landscape’ FROM PAGE E12 “The Pan Borneo Highway will become a catalyst for economic growth in Sabah and Sarawak. If we see how the North-South Highway had opened up opportunities for development and improved communications between towns in the peninsula, this highway would do the same when it is built. I am confident the project will transform the lives and landscape, generating economic growth in both states (Sarawak and Sabah),” Najib said in his ‘Malaysia Day’ message last year. Construction of the Pan Borneo Highway commenced in March 2015, with a 43km stretch from Jalan Nyabau junction to Jalan Bakun junction. This section is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. Another section — the 33km section from Telok Melano to Sematan — was launched in

September, while works on the 9.2km stretch from Mile 10 to Mile 15 of the Kuching-Serian road kicked off last December. The Pan Borneo Highway will mostly follow the route of the existing trunk road. It involves the widening of the present 3m-wide single-carriageway into a dual-carriageway. The 780km project from Sematan to Miri will consist of 11 works packages, currently under various stages of planning and scheduled to roll out this year. Meanwhile the Tedungan-Merapok section — the stretch of the project sandwiched between the two regions of Brunei — will begin in early 2018 and scheduled for completion in early 2023. Previously, the highway was slated for completion by 2025 under the Highway Network Development Plan.

The works on Batang Sadong Bridge are nearing completion.

Pan Borneo Highway Works Package (Sematan-Miri)

Length (KM)

Interchanges

Duration

1

Telok Melano — Sematan

32.770

7/10/2015—6/1/2019

2

Sematan—Sungai Moyan Bridge

95.403

Lundu, Bau, Mile 15

1/7/2016—31/12/2020

3

Serian Roundabout— Pantu Junction

75.015

Serian, Simunjan

10/3/2016—9/3/2020

4

Pantu Junction—Batang Skrang Bridge

89.439

Sri Aman

1/9/2016—30/6/2021

5

Batang Skrang Bridge—Sungai Awik Bridge

67.941

Betong

1/11/2016—31/1/2021

6

Sungai Awik Bridge—Bintangor Bridge

64.486

Sarikei, Bintangor

1/9/2016—28/2/2021

7

75.973

Julau, Sibu

16/3/2016—15/6/2020

8

Bintangor Junction—Julau, Sibu Airport Roundabout including Sungai Kua Bridge and Durin Bridge Sungai Kua Bridge—Sungai Arip Bridge

63.678

Selangau

1/11/2016—30/6/2021

9

Sungai Arip Bridge—Bintulu Airport Junction

64.531

Bintulu

1/7/2016—31/12/2020

10

Jalan Bakun Junction—Sungai Tangap

77.190

Bakun, Suai, Niah

1/9/2016—28/2/2021

11

Sungai Tangap—Pujut Link Road

79.983

Beluru, Bekenu, Miri

1/11/2016—30/4/2021


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Kanowit-Kapit Road Project

Connecting communities THE realisation of the master plan to connect Kapit with the rest of the state, via proper road infrastructure, has already reached over 50 per cent amidst positive progress in the works throughout the past year. The government is optimistic that the project would be completed on schedule in 2018. Totalling 102 km, the project includes the construction of 14 bridges and divided into 11 sections, with an overall estimated cost of RM768 million. Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin reported that as at December last year, a 50km stretch had been completed, with the remaining 52km still in various stages of implementation under five separate packages. Touching on the ‘missing link’, namely the Nanga Ngemah-SK Nanga Temalat Road, Manyin mentioned that Najib had approved an allocation for the project stretching 9.6km during his visit to Kapit on May 16 last year. The minister said a value ‘Management Lab’ for the project was held from Dec 7 to 11. The development of the Coastal Road project is currently focusing on three ongoing projects with a total cost of about RM520 million. The first project involves the construction of the Batang Sadong Bridge, scheduled to be completed and open to public by August 2016. The second project involves the construction of the Kuala Balingian/Kuala Tatau Road, which is expected to be completed by October 2017. The third project involves the construction of the Batang Samarahan Bridge, slated for completion in early 2018. The state government is requesting for

funds under the 11th Malaysia Plan to construct the remaining ‘missing link’ — from Sarikei to Tanjung Manis — involving 17km of road network and construction of three major bridges. The said ‘missing link’, as well as projects to bridge seven major river crossings currently served by ferry services, are estimated to cost RM3.33 billion. “We will continue to pursue the matter with the federal ministries,” Manyin said.

Other projects

Kanowit-Kapit Road Project — Ongoing Packages

Length (KM)

Duration

1

Sungai Kanowit Bridge and approach road

2.6

29/12/2014—28/6/2017

2

Jalan Song/Sungai Yong (Package I) inclusive of 360m Sungai Katibas Bridge

5.5

8/9/2014—16/3/2017

3

Jalan Song/Sungai Yong (Package II)

12

16/12/2014—15/12/2017

4

Jalan Song/Sungai Yong (Package III)

15.6

5/1/2015 - 4/7/2018

5

Nanga Ngemah-SK Nanga Temalat Road

9.6

Yet to commence

The state government has submitted a long list of projects under 11MP that would include 15 improvement works on junctions to be upgraded to flyovers in Kuching, with a total estimated cost of RM1.3 billion. The five key priorities are: bout Stutong rounda g traffic light du/Batu Lintan  Jalan Men junction traffic /Jalan Keretapi  Green Road light junction c light Rock Road traffi  2 1/2 Mile junction roundabout  Samariang

The allocation to Public Works Department (JKR) on state roads and bridges is approximately RM871 million, as at March 31, 2016 — inclusive of Council Bridge Replacement Programme at RM450 million. Notably, allocation to JKR on jetty and wharf projects is at approximately RM17 million, as at March 31, 2016.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusuf (in front) visits one of the project sites in Bintulu to inspect progress.

This road connects Song with Nanga Temalat. The 9.6km Nanga Ngemah-SK Nanga Temalat — the ‘missing link’ — is all that is left to connect Kapit with the rest of the state via road infrastructure.

Artist’s impression of the ‘Rest and Service’ areas to be built in three areas — namely Jelukong (Lubok Antu), Sungai Basai (Selangau) and Lambir (Miri). The Pan Borneo Highway project also includes six lay-bys at Lundu, Balai Ringin, Roban, Julau, Sungai Semanok and Suai.


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Tackling illegal logging and regulating timber industry

, the rcement activitiesiatives fo en d an ve ti en init prev In strengthening ken the following measures and ta s ha t s in the governmen w timber licence

ue ne ial under very spec t will no longer iss The governmen rmanent forest estate, except Native Customary state land and pevolving development of verified circumstances in ienated land. Rights (NCR) or al SCC) to bring pliance Centre’ (O m Co op lty to the St ne ‘O of ment of sessment roya 16 is to as rly la cu  The establish rti pa target in 20 compliance, enforcement of possible to the felling site. The as e os wak. forest as cl Cs all across Sara establish 48 OSC es, Geographical gies such as dron forest management lo no ch te w ne on of ote sensing for manner.  The applicati t em (GIS) and rem Information Syst t of compliance in a more efficien en em rc fo and en on at strategic ling and inspecti ol tr pa g, rin ito rial mon d export points.  Increased ae tions, sawmills an ca lo k’ oc bl ad ry ‘ro s between Forest of joint operationsuch as Malaysian Antie op sc d an r be m t ent agencies  Increased nu other enforcem itime Enforcemen Department and ission (MACC), Malaysian Mar ). m M Corruption Com and Royal Malaysia Police (PDR Agency (MMEA) to respond restry agencies gging and fo e th of s es in e state of read offs with respect to illegal lo  Improve th mplaints and tipco ic bl to pu ade. illegal wildlife tr ainable forest ent towards sust n holders to obtain itm m m co s e’ at st ber concessio  Streng then encouraging tim management by ent certification. forest managem in the Heart of cially those with certification by 2017 pe es s er ld ho n t essio st managemen t’s commitment in  Timber conc ea to obtain fore en Borneo (HOB) ar in line with the state governm ing this goal, Sarawak d ev ar hi rw ac fo ds ay ar w Tow in as a st management. t (FMU) located sustainable fore one Forest Management Uni ed has so far certifi ulu. Anap Muput, Bint em’ (STLVS) Verification Syst on system y lit ga Le r be m the ‘Sarawak Ti tation of the legality verificati provides  Enhancing e implemen wak. STLVS th to streng en th ber products produced in Sara lity of log movement m bi ti of timber and ing on the tracking and tracea the mills or export clear understand custody — from the forests to of along the chain points.

TACKLING abuse in the state’s timber industry is one of the top priorities in Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s fight against corruption. He was aware that illegal logging was rampant and the industry needed tougher regulations to clean itself up, The state government reviewed and replaced the Forests Ordinance (Cap 126), 1954 with the new Forests Ordinance (Cap 71), 2015. It was passed by the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly in April 2015. The introduction of this new Ordinance is a clear manifestation of the state government’s resolute commitment in strengthening the management of our forests, ensuring the sustainability of our valuable forest resources, and enforcing forestry laws and regulations. The new Forests Ordinance (Cap 71), 2015 was enacted to:  provide for more deterrent penalties for forest offences;  strengthen provisions relating to seizure and disposal of illegal timber and any equipment, machineries, vessels or vehicles used in the commission of such offences;  to equip enforcement agencies with greater power to investigate offences and to facilitate such investigations, and;  to improve the process for the constitution and protection of forest reserves, protected forests, state land forests and communal forests and to regulate the taking of forest produce from state land or communal forests for domestic use or non-commercial purposes.

Illegal Logging

Since 2014, the state government has been stepping up its efforts in combating illegal logging. Logs are tracked from source to the end points, where logs are stamped for royalty and the main task of monitoring the movement of logs falls upon Forest Department.

According to state Forest Department director Sapuan Ahmad, the state government has systematically managed its timber resources according to the principles established by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). “Our goal is to manage our forests in a manner that is environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable. Ecologically and environmentally sound forest conservation and management practices are in place to ensure the sustainable production of timber and non-timber products while safeguarding the climate, ecology, water supply, environmental quality and biological diversity of the area. “The award of forest licences falls within the jurisdiction of the Forest Department, and they are issued with terms and conditions that ensure that the harvesting would be carried out in accordance with laws, regulations and prescribed procedures. The permits are issued based on an annual operating plan and allowable cuts,” he said. Along the chain of custody, there are other agencies such as Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) and Harwood Timber Sdn Bhd (HTSB) that are tasked with checking and ensuring the legality of logs and timber products.

Sapuan (second right) leads the enforcement team, which also included officers from MACC and police, during an inspection on a mill believed to be processing illegallyprocured logs.

TOTAL OF CONFISCATED LOGS BETWEEN 2011–2015 (IN CUBIC METRES)

Source: Forest Department

Corporate Integrity Pledge

The state government’s efforts in combating illegal logging are strongly supported by the industry players through a voluntary pledge by six major timber companies and their sub-contractors — all of which signed the ‘Corporate Integrity Pledge’ (CIP) on Nov 17, 2014.

Through CIP, the timber licensees have pledged not to be involved in any illegal activity, to strictly comply with the timber licensing conditions, to be vigilant on their ground operations, and to fully commit into using only legal timber in their respective processing mills. The government, on its part, will continue its close monitoring and strict enforcement to ensure that only legal timber would enter the supply chain. In this respect, the government has established a ‘Taskforce on Illegal Logging’, of which members include state and federal enforcement agencies such as the PDRM, MACC, MMEA, Customs and Excise Department and major timber licensees, as well as Sarawak Timber Association (STA) which represents all major timber industry players in the state. The taskforce is responsible in drawing up measures to further strengthen efforts in combating illegal logging and other illegal activities. Additionally, all licensees are held responsible for the activities of their contractors, workers and agents. The government will continue to combat illegal logging through various improvement to and integration of various approaches in enforcement and compliance. It is willing to cooperate with any non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in preserving Sarawak’s forests, ensuring sustainable exploitation of state’s resources, combating illegal logging and corruption in the timber industry — if they are sincere and share the same agenda with the state government.

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The Forestry Department will definitely take stern action against those found in possession of unlawful logs or timbers.

Many illegal sawmills are located deep in the jungle, like this one.


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Inspection also includes checks on barges plying Sarawak rivers, conducted in collaboration with the MMEA.

The enforcers have also found logs being concealed underneath the mud in swamps.

This pile of logs is covered in branches and bushes to avoid detection from air.

Aiming for synergy between commercialism and biodiversity FROM PAGE E15 IN terms of conservation of forests and biodiversity, the government under the ‘Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative’, has initiated the ‘Transboundary Conservation’ in collaboration with Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

This programme will cover an area of 2.1 million hectares (ha) — stretching from Batang Ai to Lawas in Sarawak. The ultimate outcome of the HoB will be the synergy between the state development agenda and the best industrial practices in biodiversity conservation. To date, the government had gazetted 859,367.4ha of Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) in Sarawak. The key objectives of TPAs are to conserve and protect the natural scenic beauty together with the wildlife and their habitat, as well as to facilitate research and studies on the biodiversity. TPAs comprise national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. Currently, there are 32 national parks, 13 nature reserves and six wildlife sanctuaries in Sarawak. The government is in the process of gazetting 31 more areas into TPAs, covering approximately 451,819ha. By 2020, the state would have 1.3 million ha of TPAs.

seven years. “We issued a circular in January 2015, prohibiting possession of logs or timber without royalty but there are cases of those not adhering to the law. As of April 1, there will be no more excuses — enough is enough. We have given them a 12-month grace period; now we mean business. All logs and timber at any sawmill must have its royalty assessed,” he said after briefing mill operators and downstream wood-based industry players at Wisma Sumber Alam in Kuching recently. The programme, ‘Enforcement on Legal Source of Timber at Sawmills in Sarawak’, was attended by about 60 representatives of relevant industry players. The series of briefings, which kicked off in Sibu and attracted 92 participants, was to ensure that all the state’s downstream timber industry players would comply with the rules and regulations pertaining to forestry.

The use of drones will be commissioned by end of March 2016 to intensify the monitoring of illegal logging activities in TPAs across Sarawak.

Data collected from aerial surveillance will be useful in identifying areas that should be given more focus as far as forestry is concerned.

We issued a circular in January 2015, prohibiting possession of logs or timber without royalty but there are cases of those not adhering to the law. As of April 1, there will be no more excuses — enough is enough. We have given them a 12-month grace period; now we mean business. All logs and timber at any sawmill must have its royalty assessed.

Successful campaigns against illegal logging

So far, campaigns against illegal logging have shown positive results. The number of cases investigated in 2015 had dropped to 208, from 241 in 2014. Total logs seized in 2015 were 47,060 cubic metres (m²) versus 90,873m² in 2014. Twenty-seven suspects had been arrested in connection with forest offences in 2015. In addition, 33 wood processing mills had stopped operations. So far, 58 cases have been referred to the State AttorneyGeneral for prosecution purposes.

Sapuan Ahmad, State Forest Department director

This series of campaigns will be an ongoing process.

Monitoring downstream activities

Sapuan disclosed that his department would no longer tolerate the irresponsible attitude of downstream timber industry players and would take stern action against those found in possession of unlawful logs or timber.

He said after a grace period of one year following the endorsement of a new forest ordinance in April 2015, the government would go all out in clamping down mill operators and downstream wood-based industries found to be manufacturing or trading illegal logs and timber. The Forests Ordinance 2015 includes provision for more deterrent penalties. For example, those who build or operate an illegal sawmill can be charged under Section 62 of the Ordinance, incurring a penalty of not less than RM500,000 and not exceeding RM10 million AND/OR imprisonment of between five and

There have been times when enforcers discover logs buried underground to conceal them from the authorities.

Increased aerial monitoring via helicopter — an undertaking between the Forest Department and PDRM — is among the initiatives by the government to enhance its enforcement activities against illegal logging.

Sapuan added that as of April 1, a tracking system would be enforced, in which all logs and timber taken out from the licensed areas must pass through one of the 48 OSCCs across Sarawak — each log to be marked with a royalty stamp before being delivered to the sawmills. All enforcement agencies including PDRM and their marine department, MACC and SFC would assist the department to seize illegal logs and timber. Since the enforcement of the new Ordinance, a total of 32 cases have been recorded involving the seizure of 6,000m² of logs without royalty stamp from illegal sawmills. Sapuan warned operators not to buy or process illegal logs or timber in their mills, reiterating that the Forestry Department would continue its close monitoring and strict enforcement to ensure only legal timber would enter the supply chain. “Any operator who commits a breach of the terms and conditions of their licence shall be guilty of an offence under Section 62 (6)(b) of Forests Ordinance 2015 and upon

conviction, liable to be punished with a fine not less than RM10,000 and not exceeding RM5,000 for each day which the offence continues after conviction. “In addition to that, those found in unlawful possession of any forest produce shall be guilty of an offence and shall, upon conviction, be punished under Section 96(1) and a fine of not less than RM25,000 and not exceeding RM150,000, or imprisonment not exceeding five years — or both. Subsequent offence shall be punished with a fine of not less than RM150,000 and not exceeding RM500,000, or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years — or both.” He reminded operators to keep all documents of the logs and timber at their mills such as Transit Removal Pass, Royalty Pass, Shipping Pass, Land Transportation Pass and Log Specifications. If sawmill operators were found in possession of any illegal logs or timber, their mill licence would be suspended or revoked.

Drones — Eyes in the sky

Meanwhile, the use of drones would further enhance the capability of the Forest Department to monitor and curb illegal logging, especially in TPAs which include national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries.

Sapuan disclosed that an enforcement unit specialising in drone technology had been set up. These drones, he added, would be used to ensure that the TPAs would not be breached as there had been cases where some of these TPAs had been logged illegally. “We have two types of drones — fixed wings and quadcopter units. Once commissioned, we are confident that we will be able to monitor our TPAs as our highlytrained and skilled personnel should be able to provide more effective and accurate information,” he said.


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Rural Electrification Scheme

Powering Up Rural Areas IN 2010, the federal government allocated RM2.5 billion under 10th Malaysia Plan (2010-2015) for the implementation of the Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) grid line project. About 1,280 projects were approved, benefitting some 69,000 households. As at December last year, a total of 1,204 projects had been completed to benefit some 58,000 families. At the same time, Awang Tengah said the government would continue its effort in providing electricity coverage through the grid system, or providing other alternatives such as solar hybrid, micro hydro and diesel generator to areas located deep in the interior. “For 2016, a total of RM360 million have been made available for RES projects through the grid system. About RM200 million will be allocated for the alternative systems,” he added. With regard to electricity supply coverage, Sarawak’s present committed demand is 3,299MW and the grid firm generation capacity is 3,544MW. In catering to the increasing demand for electricity in tandem with its economic growth, the state has achieved the following in 2015: ricity supply to Connection of elect t of 586,000 ou 520,000 households is equivalent is Th r. be m ve as at No . to about 90 per cent riffs for domestic The reduction in ta y, followed by consumers in Januar cial consumers mer industrial and com ng all businesses tti fi ne be – ne Ju in the state, who and households in the lowest g are already enjoyin amongst d an ia ys tariff in Mala ean. As in st we lo e th e grid security Enhancement of th ement of the and further improv pply through su r reliability of powe Transmission Line the ongoing 500kV t scheduled backbone projec 2016. for completion in

On a related matter, the Public Utilities Ministry will embark on a new programme to boost electricity supply to the rural areas with Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) to implement it. According to Assistant Minister of Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications) Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi, such measure is deemed crucial in addressing the problem of irresponsible contractors involved in RES projects. Adenan, in declaring open the ‘Sejiwa Senada’ programme in Kapit recently, warned the contractors whose incompetency and lackadaisical attitude had caused many RES projects being put on hold, that the government would not hesitate to dismiss them and ‘find somebody else to finish the job’. Dr Rundi said with respect to Adenan’s stern call, the ministry was fully aware of the negative issues surrounding the implementation of RES projects. “The ministry will continue to monitor and strive to expedite the completion of these so-called ‘sick projects’, while embarking on a new programme to increase electricity

Adenan (second left) and his deputy Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu (left) join Awang Tengah (right) and other guests of honour during a programme in Kuching.

As we move ahead, the State continues to harness her abundant indigenous natural resources in water, gas, coal and also small renewable sources such as biomass, solar or biogas for power generation to meet the increasing demand. Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Public Utilities Minister

supply coverage to the rural areas.” There were several factors that caused the delay in the RES projects, Dr Rundi acknowledged, pointing out that some of the contractors appointed by the federal Rural and Regional Development Ministry had shown performance described as ‘less than satisfactory’. “The state government is seriously looking into the matter and as rightly pointed out by the Chief Minister, we are doing our best in resolving it by starting a programme – to be implemented by SEB – to supply (electricity) to every accessible rural home,” he said.

In his speech delivered during the ‘Sejiwa Senada’ programme in Kapit, Adenan said there were many RES projects that could not progress due to contractors being lackadaisical in their work. The Chief Minister had taken the first step of a programme to supply electricity to every rural household that had access to the state grid. Adenan also stressed as the leader who had been pushing for rural development, he did not want people to only see ‘power cables hanging over their houses, but none connecting them with power’.

The occupant of this household has benefitted from ongoing development in electricity supply coverage across Sarawak.

For 2016, a total of RM360 million have been made available for RES projects through the grid system, and about RM200 million will be allocated for the alternative systems, says Awang Tengah.

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Significant spending on water supply projects

Engineering and technology students from Executive College listen to a briefing on the water treatment processes during a field trip to Batu Kitang plant. A Kuching Water Board personnel monitors the pool at the Batu Kitang water treatment plant near Kuching. IMPROVING basic infrastructure and amenities for the people, especially those living in rural areas, is a top priority for the government.

The state is fully committed in creating a wider coverage of road connectivity, as well as treated water and 24-hour electricity supply across Sarawak with the notion that access to basic infrastructure is a fundamental right of all. Road development, electricity and treated water supply are important to the nation’s sociocultural advancement and part of the essential foundations of the country’s economy. The government has invested significantly to improve rural basic infrastructure. Public Utilities Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said throughout 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) — 2011-2015, the state had increased its coverage of treated water supply from 68 per cent to 80 per cent. For the 11MP, a total of 795 projects have been proposed for implementation, slated to benefit an additional 79,130 households. For now, 218 projects have been approved with an initial provision of RM3.54 billion. “By extending the water supply further into the rural areas, the cost increases tremendously and some areas are so remote that they cannot be connected with any major regional supply network. “For such areas, alternative systems have been implemented and will continue to be proposed for implementation. “My ministry will strive to implement all the approved projects successfully, and pursue them with the application of more funds in the mid-term reviews of the 11MP,” said Awang Tengah, who is also Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister, during his ministerial winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting last December. One of the key projects that has been completed over the last five years is the RM116.5-million SerianSamarahan Water Treatment Plant in Slabi, launched in February last year. It has the capability of generating 50 million litres per day (MLD) for the supply to a population of 4,500 across the two divisions, including in Tebedu, Gedong and Simunjan. The Selangau Water Treatment Plant, with a capacity of seven MLD, began operation in 2013; while the Ulu Mukah Water Treatment Plant — with a capacity of 2.27 MLD — was recommissioned last May, to address water shortage in the Mukah Division. The government has also

completed the Kaki Wong Treatment Plant (25 MLD in capacity) in Krian to meet the needs of the population in Saratok District. The RM114-million plant has been benefitting some 700 households since its commissioning in October 2014, with another 600 applications in process. In addition, the Jemoreng Water Treatment Plant, with a capacity of 10MLD, was commissioned last September to cater to the needs of the people in Jemoreng, Bawang, Tian and Daro. Awang Tengah also mentioned the whole Bau-Lundu-Sematan area should be able to enjoy a more reliable water supply from Batu Kitang Treatment Plant, upon the completion of the following projects: from km pipeline Dedicated 8 to Siburuh junction. ir the reservo e from 5.5km pipelin oir to the serv Stenggang re of the Batang t in o p g n starti water ct to supply ak je ro p n ya a K matan-Biaw to Lundu-Se as. re a tion of nonImplementa anagement in ter m revenue wa u area. Ba

“To address the interconnection between Kuching and Sebangan, Sebuyau and other coastal settlements, the scope of works have been included in the proposed Samarahan Coastal Regional Water Supply project. This will be implemented in the 11th MP with an estimated cost of RM200 million,” he disclosed. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, in his State Budget speech at the State Legislative Assembly last December, said the state government would continue to extend coverage of water supply, especially to the rural population. A sum of RM260.7 million would be provided this year (2016) for the implementation of various water supplies projects such as:

These two little girls are among many Sarawakians who can now enjoy treated water supply in their villages.

Miriwater watersupply Miri supply source developme source development. nt.  Pipeline replacement at Lawas Pipetown line re area and place m Sundar/AwattowAwat. n area and ent at Lawas Sundar/Aw at Simunjan raw Aw at.water source development. Simunjan ra  Sungai Asap w wwater ate supply developme r source project. nt. Sungai Asap water supp ly project. 

Sarawak has increased its coverage of treated water supply, from 68 per cent to 80 per cent under 10MP.


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Abang Johari (centre) and assistant minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (right) at the launch of Premier Residences in Matang Jaya on November 21 last year.

Ensuring housing affordable for all

Sarawakians THE state government has allocated RM230 million to the Housing Ministry for building between 10,000 and 15,000 affordable houses under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) from 2016 to 2020. Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) would develop major affordable housing projects in Kemuyang, Sibu and Darul Hana as well as Sungai Beduan, Kuching. Launched by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Feb 13, the Kemuyang project involves 413 lots for the first phase and 400 lots for phase two. They are for the extended families of the 2013 Kampung Dato/HIlir fire victims. “In terms of the public sector, we will build about 10,000 to 15,000 units of houses in the areas that have been identified. These are mainly in urban and suburban

areas because of our population demography,” said Abang Johari. “The ratio of population between the urban and suburban areas is now 50:50 and by 2020, there is possibility that the ratio will be 55:45. So there is pressure for us to provide housing facilities.” Under the 11MP, he said both the private and public sectors would work together to deliver 40,000 to 50,000 affordable houses costing below RM300,000 and middle-cost houses. “We will try to deliver at least 55 per cent middle-cost houses and at least 30 per cent of affordable houses. We have to monitor and neutralise the increasing price of houses because currently most people, especially the first generation, can only buy houses that are below RM300,000,” he said. On funding for HDC houses, he said loans could be obtained from commercial banks or Mutiara

RM230 million (Under 11MP) up to 15,000 units Projects include: ● Kemuyang, Sibu — 413 lots

(Phase I), 400 lots (Phase II)

1Malaysia People’s Housing Scheme (PR1MA) The federal government will also build affordable houses in urban areas through the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Scheme (PR1MA) in Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu.

Workers are seen at a construction site. Under the 11MP, up to 50,000 affordable houses costing below RM300,000 and middlecost houses will be built in Sarawak. Mortgage and Finance Sdn Bhd, an independently managed HDC-owned finance company.

“Mutiara Mortgage and Finance will help to finance these HDC built houses. Our responsibility has

increased and we are giving facilities for people to own better houses and longhouses,” added Abang Johari.

“What we are doing is to provide houses to the metropolitan population, mixed population in the state. So PR1MA houses will cater for the needs of all the ethnic groups in the urban areas,” said Abang Johari. There would be eight PR1MA projects in the state comprising 9,185 houses. For rural communities, he said the federal government had increased the quantum of loans for longhouse construction to RM50 million this year. “Previously, we provided loans of RM15,000 per door (‘bilik’). Under 11MP, the Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulus who live in the longhouses can get their loans of up to RM50,000 per door,” he said.

PR1MA projects in Sarawak 1. Vista Tunku — 1,877 units 2. Matang — 912 units 3. Matang 2 — 448 units 4. Semenggoh — 1,260 units 5. Sibu — 1,096 units

● Darul Hana, Kuching

6. Petra Jaya 2 — 616 units

● Sungai Beduan, Kuching

7. Sungai Plan — 1,656 units 8. Bintawa — 1,320 units Photo shows an HDC affordable housing project in Mukah.

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Assistant Housing Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (fifth left) highlights an area to Adenan during the Kemuyang project launch. From front left are Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Wong’s wife Datin Sri Pauline Leong, Adenan’s wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu and Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee.

As housing is a concurrent subject under the constitution, we proposed to the Prime Minister that empowerment on housing be given to Sarawak, but it remains in the framework of the Constitution. With this, it will allow us to implement related projects. — Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, Sarawak Housing Minister

Housing master plan FROM PAGE E19 LAST December, the Housing Ministry undertook a State Housing Development Study to produce a master plan for the long-term development of the state’s housing sector up to 2035.

The study would forecast the long-term supply of houses

required by cities and towns statewide, taking into account factors such as economic growth, urban migration and population growth. This would enable the state government to plan in advance and allocate necessary resources to meet the future housing needs of Sarawakians.

The main objectives of the new proposed policy are to: ● Increase private sector of affordable housing,

supply

low● Control house prices for t cos mdiu me and m diu me houses, ● Improve design – more and conducive housing,

liveable

● Leverage on new housing opportunities, ● Address urban sprawl.

No GST for residential homes In January 2015, it was officially clarified that residential homes are not subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“There will be procedures done by relevant parties, such as the Customs Department, so the houses we sell will not have GST imposed,” said Abang Johari. “As housing minister, I feel there will not be a severe increase in prices for residential buildings. Even if there is, it will not be that great because you don’t have to pay tax for land. In addition, certain building materials do not attract tax. Even if they do, you can claim as input-deduction tax.” Abang Johari said GST should also not be imposed on the selling price of a house. “People have the misconception that when a house is sold, it will attract sales tax because of the world ‘sell’,” he said. He urged developers and consultants to engage with the Customs Department to ensure correct information is conveyed. “The housing industry involves consultants, engineers, architects, planners, and lawyers. So, if these professionals are in doubt as well, please refer to Customs. As far as I am concerned, we enforce based on the law we have, so we must educate the people on all provisions of the law,” he added.

Proposed new policy and guidelines

The ministry has proposed a new affordable housing policy as well as guidelines to the State Planning Authority (SPA), which would involve several major enhancements to the state’s approach towards affordable housing.

Key recommendati ons:

● Low-medium and med houses to be built un ium price proposed 30 per ce der the nt quota, ● Affordable housing fo gross household inc r monthly omes of above RM3,000 to below RM5,000; and above RM5,000 to below RM7,000, ● Increased house size, design and specifica improved tions, ● Development ab ove required to build 50 10 acres pe medium and 50 per r cent lowcent medium cost houses, ● Maximum permiss ibl low-medium price hoe density for to be increased to m uses and flats iti cost of land in urba gate high n areas and reduce overall deve lopment costs, ● Lifts for low-cost flats or apartments.

Photo shows an affordable apartment project developed by HDC in Batu Gong.

Challenges and opportunities in housing industry Combating irresponsible developers

A new law requires developers to have a Housing Developer’s Account (HDA), to combat problems with abandoned housing projects and other problems caused by irresponsible developers.

The law under the Housing Ordinance stipulates that funding for every project is strictly for that particular development and would be monitored by housing controllers and the bank. Explaining the need for such regulations, Abang Johari cited the example of abandoned housing projects. “Certain developers, after getting Project A together with bank financing, they would use deposits paid by purchasers of that project to fund Project B. “There is no proper management of their cash flow. When they become overburdened and cannot pay the bank, they would disappear and leave their buyers,” he said. Amendments to the state’s Housing Ordinance would help to combat issues regarding abandoned housing projects and ensure future house buyers are protected from similar problems. Green technology

HDC will use the latest green technology in future housing developments in collaboration with CMS Property Development Sdn Bhd.

A banner is seen at an abandoned housing project during Abang Johari’s visit to the site in November. Amendments to the Housing Ordinance would help to combat abandoned housing projects.

The two developers signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Borneo PlasTech Sdn Bhd last August to use the latter’s shallow inspection chamber and

manhole system. “The use of this new product can reduce the cost of construction compared with conventional methods,” said Abang Johari. “The technology is suitable for underground piping for all utilities, and they are easier to fix and install.” The products are widely used in Australia, come with a 20-year warranty and are recyclable. Autonomy in housing

Housing may be one of the sectors that the state government would have greater autonomy over.

“We have discussed the issue on empowerment with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and what we want now is more details on the sectors that will be handed over to the state government,” said Abang Johari. “As housing is a concurrent subject under the constitution, we proposed to the Prime Minister that empowerment on housing be given to Sarawak, but it remains in the framework of the Constitution. With this, it will allow us to implement related projects.” Abang Johari said the point of delivery of projects to the people has also been proposed, where the federal government would have to look for new approaches to ensure federal funding could be implemented using local methods. “This strategic sector is specifically for rural projects such as roads, electricity supply and water supply, where Sarawak has its own methods in implementing the projects,” he said.


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Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary Schools Management Board chairman Temenggong Dato Vincent Lau (centre) displays the latest RM5 million allocation via cheque, presented by Adenan (third left).

Education a subject close to his heart THE Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has been in office for only two years, but within that short space of time, he has led the state through a breathtaking period of breakthroughs. An intellectual with a thirst for knowledge and love of reading and history, he is a strategic thinker – the man was a practising lawyer after short stints as a journalist and teacher, before he entered politics. As such, the vision, policies and actions of his administration have benefitted from these experiences. Moreover, all these announcements have also captured media headlines. Specifically, education is a subject close to Adenan’s heart. This is evident from the interventionist approach and strong words by him on educational issues of the day. It is no surprise that education is a key arena in which the current state government is now asserting

I don’t care what Putrajaya says – English ought to be the second language in the state. Now you are welcome to write in English or Bahasa Malaysia to correspond with the state government. Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Chief Minister

greater autonomy for Sarawak. Tabling the state’s 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) in August 2015, he highlighted the ‘flip flop policies’ that had come to characterise the federal government in educational matters. “When the minister changes, the policy will follow suit and this is not helping anyone. In view of these constant changes at the federal level, we want to chart our way in education,” he asserted. His underlying motives are noble and sincere. He despaired at the 2014 Auditor-General’s Report which revealed the ‘bad shape’ of

124 of 145 schools inspected in the state. It heightened his resolve to seek and allocate greater funding especially for rural schools in Sarawak. His simple observation was: “If you want to look for the poor, they can be found in rural areas.”

English as the second official language

Adenan, saddened by a report that more than 1,000 doctors in Malaysia gave up medical careers due to their poor command of English, spoke out: “The country is facing a dilemma by constantly

churning out thousands of unemployed graduates who can’t even form a sentence in English. “I don’t care what Putrajaya says – English ought to be the second language in the state. “Now you are welcome to write in English or Bahasa Malaysia to correspond with the state government.” His rationale was based on English being the global language of commerce, science, technology, literature as well as medium of interaction between countries.

The 90:10 Initiative

He also drew attention to the anomaly in the posting of teachers to the state with the disproportionate number of teachers from Peninsular Malaysia versus local teachers. In response, Adenan initiated the push to raise the prevailing

70 per cent (in September 2015) of Sarawak-born teachers serving in the state, to 90 per cent by 2018. By February 2016, Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah was able to announce that Sarawakians comprised 77 per cent of the teaching workforce in primary and secondary schools across the state, while those from Peninsular Malaysia made up about 20 per cent of the total. The rest were from Sabah and Labuan. Applications from 1,164 teachers to return to the peninsula were processed and approved. Their posts were taken over by local teachers, while the remaining vacancies would be sourced from the local open market urgently. “We are going towards that direction, and the ‘90:10 Initiative’ will definitely be achievable as scheduled,” Fatimah promised.

State assistance to Chinese schools

Adenan’s administration will long be remembered for the unprecedented provision of state assistance to Chinese

independent schools in Sarawak. It allocated RM3 million in 2014, and RM4 million in 2015. In March 2016, he announced a further RM5 million to the 14 Chinese private schools. Since March 2014, the state government has given an increment of RM1 million annually for a total of RM12 million in grants to Chinese-medium education, promising more in the future. “This is among the 50 key decisions that I have made over the past two years in office and with another five years, a lot of things can be done. Let me finish the job and I think I can do more,” Adenan said

Intervention to assist JPA scholars

In January 2016, students across the nation were taken aback by the sudden suspension of Public Service Department (JPA) postbursary sponsorships. The distressed students and their parents were left helpless. A group of these students in Sarawak felt that the only thing they could do was to make a personal and direct appeal to Adenan, who welcomed their petition with this response: “Yes, we will help them. I have given instruction to Yayasan Sarawak to find means on how best to help them.”

Extending help to unemployed graduates

A group of affected local JPA scholars making a direct appeal to Adenan for help.

In March 2016, the chief minister launched the Graduate Enhancement Training Sarawak (GETS) programme. Unemployed graduates will be attached as GETS interns with a GETS-partner company over a period of 12 months under the programme. During their internship the graduates will be paid a training allowance of RM1,000 (degree holders) or RM800 (diploma holders). The aim is to enable them to acquire work experience in commercial or industrial companies. Structured courses in English, as well as soft and self-marketing skills will also be provided to enhance their employability. GETS partner companies will also stand to benefit – they can maintain or expand their current business with the injection of GETS interns to better weather the challenging economic climate.

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Affordable higher education FROM PAGE E21 ADELING, Hillary and Rubi are all university graduates. Adeling joined the job market a few months after getting her business degree, and has been gainfully employed in the private sector since. Hillary is more adventurous — armed with a degree in finance, he entered the marketing line where he recalled with pride how his boss appreciated his input on strategic planning. For a while, he and some varsity classmates were partners in a food business venture. He is now in Singapore trying his hand at sales and marketing. Rubi earned her degree within three years after SPM. The qualified accountant was offered her current position at the local branch of a multinational giant — with a monthly pay of over RM2,000 — a month before she even graduated. These are just three of the success stories of young, confident Sarawakians — beneficiaries of the vast opportunities for affordable, quality university education available just at their doorsteps. It was barely a generation ago that the only access to study in a university was overseas. Those wanting a postsecondary education had no choice but to leave home for several years to travel to Peninsular Malaysia (limited places during the 1980s and earlier), or to Singapore, Taiwan, India, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and the US. Tuition fees and living expenses overseas was prohibitive, except for the fortunate minority who won scholarships or whose parents could afford them. Today, the state government remains strongly committed to this winning formula of promoting the continued

expansion of higher education for locals through both public and private sectors. One has only to scour local dailies, or visit the annual Borneo Post International Education Fair (BPIEF) to appreciate the broad spectrum of courses made available by universities and colleges in Sarawak, or foreign ones that have set up their branch campuses here. There are currently over 30 institutions of higher learning in Sarawak, with a population of less than three million. The acronyms of some of them are already brand names in the higher education sector — Fajar, SEGi, Sidma, Sunway, FAME, HELP, ICats, INTI, OUM, Unitar, UTAR and UCSI, among others. The Curtin University Campus in Miri has a vibrant community of over 3,000 local and international students. The Australian university, invited by the state government to operate in Miri in 1999, offers undergraduate and post-graduate courses in languages, humanities, business, engineering and sciences including specialised studies in IT, communications, media, geology, earth and marine science. In Sibu, the newly-established University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) already boasts six faculties in built environment, business and management, engineering and technology, computing, foundation studies and postgraduate studies. The Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus in Kuching offers wide-ranging degree courses in business, computing, design, engineering and biotechnology, which can be completed entirely at its Sarawak campus or partially at its Melbourne parent campus, while paying local tuition fees. The local campus, established in 2000 in partnership with the state government, has an enrolment of about 4,000 students. Over 90 per cent of them are absorbed by industries within six months after graduation. The university

Students get hands-on learning at ILP Kota Samarahan.

Unimas graduates celebrate their achievement after the convocation.

Great opportunity for more people to benefit from technical vocational education and traning. recently announced new bursary schemes that will allow top SPM, STPM and Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) holders up to 80 per cent off their tuition fees. Nevertheless, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) stands as the flagship of Sarawak’s higher education sector. The eighth public university in Malaysia, established in December 1992, is by far the largest fullfledged university in the state with current enrolment of nearly 1,500 post-graduate and over 14,000 undergraduate students across eight faculties and six niche institutes and centres. A record 3,919 students graduated during its latest convocation in November. Moreover, the Unimas university

hospital is already in the pipeline. TVET – The Way Forward

MEET 18-year-old Jordan. His parents found out very early that he was not much into books and reading. Their eldest son was always in his element when it came to cars, trucks and planes.

It was not just that he loved to play with such toys, but they also noticed that he had an unbridled passion about fiddling with, dismantling, re-arranging and reassembling those toys — the bigger or the more complex they were, the better. When he passed his SPM from SMK Muara Tuang last year, what to do next came quite naturally to Jordan and his parents. He is now into his first year at Industrial Training Institute (ILP) Kota Samarahan. His parents paid an initial sum of RM600 upon his registration for the two-year Automotive Certificate Course, while all other expenses for room, board and fees were waived. Jordan even receives a RM100 monthly training allowance throughout this two-year stint. The youth has already expressed a desire to pursue a diploma after getting the certificate, eyeing further skills training in car electronics, air-conditioning, car spraying and painting. He hoped to be an entrepreneur in the car repair business one day, but not before spending a few years working in established workshops to gain experience. As far as his parents are concerned, they derive much satisfaction from the career path that Jordan has chosen. The industrial training that Jordan is receiving and his future plans also tie in nicely with what the state government has emphasised in recent years.

“There is nothing more serious, so tragic as to be trained for four to five years to obtain a degree or diploma, only to find there are no jobs that require the skills or knowledge that you have learnt,” Adenan told a gathering of school-leavers, parents, educators and their industry partners last year. “There should not be any more mismatching of jobs against qualifications if we are going to industrialise. The future now lies in technical education and we need the skilled manpower like other developed nations.” It was an opportunity for the chief minister to explain the importance for synergy between industrialisation, education, employment and economic development in Sarawak under his administration. In the next 15 years, the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) is projected to attract over RM300 billion in investments and create 1.3 million new jobs. More than 50 per cent, or 600,000, of these jobs are for skilled and semi-skilled workers. The state will require a three-fold increase in enrolment for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in order to meet its need for such workers by 2030. As at last year, 45 public and 36 private TVET institutions in Sarawak jointly produce an annual output of 11,000 certificate holders in different trades. At this rate, the state would train 170,000 skilled workers by 2030 — a supply that clearly falls short of the projected demand. The state government is urgently addressing the need to substantially increase the training capacity of TVET institutions. The importance of cooperation and mutual support between

government and private agencies in urgently developing the TVET sector is stressed. Last year alone, five new private training providers started operations in Sarawak. Six government schools were also converted to become vocational colleges. Yayasan Sarawak has been tasked to establish the Centre for Technical Excellence (Centex). Under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), at least two more Centex would be established — the one in Lundu already started operations last year even as the new campus was being built. All Centex programmes are planned and developed with close and direct involvement from industry players to ensure that the training received by students would remain relevant throughout. Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Office (Promotion of Technical Education) Datu Len Talif Salleh is spearheading the development and implementation of specific strategies to attract ‘our boys and girls to undertake TVET courses’. Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Sarawak (Tegas) — an organisation funded by the government — was set up to promote TVET, especially to youths from the rural areas. Universities are and will remain an attractive choice for many ambitious Sarawakians, but there are good reasons and encouraging data showing that TVET has emerged as an increasingly worthy and popular option for many. Enrolment in TVET institutions went up by 67 per cent in 2013, and 85 per cent in 2015.


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Tremendous progress in healthcare and medical services THE healthcare and medical services sector in Sarawak has seen tremendous progress over the years and is regarded as one of the best compared in the country.

Efforts are constantly being made to upgrade and enhance healthcare delivery standards for the benefit of all Sarawakians. Assistant Minister of Public Health Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said the state government has continuously strived to deliver the very best healthcare and medical services to the people regardless of where they live. “It is therefore crucial to highlight that the healthcare standards in Sarawak have been improving very steadily,” he said when launching Kuching Specialist Hospital’s new Siemens Magnetom Avanto 1.5 Tesla MRI last August. Dr Jerip said there are now more medical service providers in the public and private sector compared to five years ago and this was in line with the Ministry of Health’s targets to extend its reach in delivering high quality primary care to the people. New healthcare projects Construction work on the Petra Jaya Hospital is progressing smoothly and the hospital is expected to be completed and

begin operations next year. The 300-bed hospital was constructed to ease congestion at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH). In February, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam proposed that the new Petra Jaya Hospital be converted into one specialising in maternal and child healthcare. He said if this could be achieved, the existing women and children’s health services at SGH could be moved to the new hospital and thus free up around 300 beds at SGH. After visiting the SGH Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan, Dr Subramaniam also promised that his ministry would continue to empower health services in Sarawak by building three new clinics and hospitals as well as upgrading facilities at SGH. He pointed out that the new clinic, which will be built in the Tabuan Jaya residential area, would cost an estimated RM40 million, while the Siburan Clinic is expected to cost RM35 million. These projects are estimated to be completed within one to three years. “I have visited each health facility here in Kuching and the surrounding areas to see what needs to be upgraded so that the health facilities that are already available can be upgraded for

Upcoming Projects

Dr Jerip (seated right) is seen at the launching of the new MRI at Kuching Specialist Hospital. At right is hospital chairman Abdul Wahab Baba while medical director Dr David Sylvester Ling is at third right. the citizens of Sarawak. “As an example, after the Tabuan Jaya Clinic is completed, it will help the villagers staying

around the area, especially the low income category, to get health services provided by the government,” he said.

The 1Malaysia Mobile Boat Clinic, which operates along the Baram and Rajang rivers, is seen during a stop in Marudi.

Tabuan Jaya Clinic – RM40 million Siburan Clinic – RM35 million SGH Clinical Service Block – RM53 million upgrade     

Lift upgrading Air conditioning Ventilation projects Renovations Additions

(From front, second left) Dr Subramanian listens to an explanation by Senator Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian (third left) on equipment at the SGH Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan.

He added that the lift upgrading, air conditioning and ventilation projects as well as renovations and additions to the SGH Clinical

Service Block would be carried out at an estimated RM53 million.

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FROM PAGE E23

Medical personnel attend to visitors during a recent health campaign in Kuching.

Existing services Though faced with many challenges, the state Health Department has always endeavoured to provide the best healthcare services to the people of Sarawak. State health director Datu Dr Zulkifli Jantan said the department’s success was due to the best medical and healthcare service network system. “Healthcare service in Sarawak is provided through 23 hospitals located at all main cities in Sarawak namely the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) in Kuching, and three district hospitals with specialist services in Sibu, Miri and Bintulu. “Apart from that, we also have six district hospitals without specialist services and two special institutions namely Sentosa Hospital and Rajah Charles Brooke Memorial Hospital,” he said. He noted that Sarawak has 267 government-run clinics statewide of which 208 are health clinics, 32 are 1Malaysia clinics, 25 are maternal and child clinics, and seven are rural clinics. Rural healthcare The healthcare of people in rural and interior areas of the state are cared for using several approaches to reach rural folk such as by river and air, as well as by road. “We have the Flying Doctor Service (FDS), which was introduced in 1973 to provide basic healthcare services to people who are living in remote areas,” said Dr Zulkifli. “There are three helicopters under this service, which are based in Kuching, Sibu and Miri. The FDS

DATU DR ZULKIFLI JANTAN

Healthcare service in Sarawak is provided through 23 hospitals located at all main cities in Sarawak namely the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) in Kuching, and three district hospitals with specialist services in Sibu, Miri and Bintulu. Apart from that, we also have six district hospitals without specialist services and two special institutions namely Sentosa Hospital and Rajah Charles Brooke Memorial Hospital. Datu Dr Zulkifli Jantan, State health director

covers 141 locations in the remote rural parts of Sarawak and attends to around 70,000 outpatients, children and antenatal mothers every year.” He said the FDS team comprises a

The Flying Doctor Service covers 141 locations in the remote pockets of Sarawak attending to around 70,000 outpatients, children and antenatal mothers every year. medical officer, a medical assistant and two community nurses, who visit locations based on a schedule. Dr Zulkifli also pointed out that there are two additional helicopters based in Sibu and Miri specially for Medical Emergency Evacuation

Construction of the new Petra Jaya Hospital is expected to be completed next year, when operations will also begin.

(Medevac) cases. Mobile health services via the river are also provided through the 1Malaysia Mobile Boat Clinic, which operates along the Baram and Rajang rivers, while mobile health service teams also travel by land using four-wheel drive

vehicles to reach other rural destinations. “The state Health Department has also introduced the Village Health Promoter Programme since 1983 to provide basic health services to people living in remote areas.

“Up till today, the department has trained more than 4,000 volunteers under this programme, who will be the representative of their village and assist in providing basic healthcare as well as to refer patients to clinics and hospitals for follow-up treatment,” he added.

Patients wait their turn at a 1Malaysia Clinic in Sibu.


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Advancing the rights of Sarawakian women WOMEN in Sarawak have come a long way towards achieving equal status and opportunities resulting in instrumental and visible roles in the political, social and economic transformation of not only the state but also the country as a whole. Sarawakian women are fast becoming active contributors to the development of the state and more women are now agents of change in accelerating social, economic and political progress. Their achievements have not gone unnoticed with the state government recognising their contributions to Sarawak over the years including during the state-level Women’s Day celebration last October. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem said then that Sarawakian women had contributed significantly to the state’s development and put Sarawak on the world map with their achievements. “Sarawak recognises the importance of giving women the equality that they deserve. Let us do our best to set a fine example for other states,” he said. It was also during the celebration that Adenan pointed out that the state government had worked to ensure women would receive the facilities and services they need including the upgrading of

Sarawak recognises the importance of giving women the equality that they deserve. Let us do our best to set a fine example for other states. Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Chief Minister

the Sarawak Women’s Bureau. Women’s and Family Department The Sarawak Women’s Bureau was elevated to a full-fledged department and renamed the Sarawak Women’s and Family Department (JWKS) in January 2015. Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said the department would have expanded roles and responsibilities relating to women and family development, capacity building, advocacy and social support. “The department’s organisation chart will also be experiencing restructuring as JWKS will be roping in new staff to beef up our current workforce of only 11 personnel,” she told a press conference last year. She said the cabinet had approved up to 37 staff for the different units under the department, which would enable it to expand its scope more thoroughly to cater to and bring

greater benefits to all Sarawakians, especially women. The Sarawak Women’s Bureau was approved on Jan 23, 1985 and officially formed on Aug 25, 1988. Since Sept 30, 2011, the bureau has been under the purview of the Ministry of Welfare, Women and Family Development. Equipping women with skills The Wisma Wanita Training Centre (WWTC) in Kuching will equip Sarawakian women with skills and knowledge through specialised training courses. Fatimah said the courses would help women to generate an income for themselves and train them to communicate confidently. “We must have our own training centre such as WWTC to help these women in acquiring skills and knowledge so they can learn to be independent and generate extra income for themselves,” she said when launching WWTC’s Beauty and Spa Course.

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Association of Wives of Ministers and Assistant Ministers of Sarawak (Sabati) president Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu (front centre) takes a wefie at an International Women’s Day celebration. She is flanked by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim (left) and Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Women’s chief Dato Sri Empiang Jabu. Fatimah is at front third right, while Assistant Minister of Early Childhood Education and Family Development Rosey Yunus is at front second right.


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Kek Lapis Sarawak pioneer and entrepreneur Rabiah Amit (front, third left) briefs (from front left) Adenan, Fatimah and Adenan’s wife Datin Patinggi Dato Jamilah Anu on her products during an exhibition.

FROM PAGE E25 WWTC offers four courses conducted by professionals recognised by the Labour Department: 

Creative Sewing and Tailoring  

Beauty

Massage and Spa 

Cooking

“The Sarawak Women’s and Family Department will also be monitoring and obtaining feedback from the participants who have completed the course to identify those with potential so as to assist in developing the skills as well as to network among peers for more business opportunities,” Fatimah added. She said WWTC also aims to serve as a women’s resource centre for those who want to know more about the progress and development of women in Sarawak. Vital role of NGOs

More than 100 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are registered with JWKS and another 78 NGOs registered with the Welfare Department.

Fatimah explained that

women’s NGOs in Sarawak serve as strategic partners of the ministry and can play key roles in various areas such as education, welfare, health, politics, and the environment, as well as to facilitate and support the efforts of the government and contribute towards the betterment of society. “As such, it is important to empower women and enhance the role of NGOs with skills and knowledge through related activities and programmes from time to time,” she said when launching the ‘Women

NGOs Empowerment Workshop’ last year. She also noted that the primary strength of NGOs is that they are not strictly governed by bureaucracy, thus allowing them to act fast and efficiently. “They can also effectively facilitate upward and downward communication as well as carry out advocacy for targeted groups or subjects of their concern. “NGOs can do better job in certain areas and we can complement each other,” she said.

(Standing from left) Fatimah observes a demonstration of facial treatments with Assistant Minister of Early Childhood Education and Family Development Rosey Yunus and Women’s and Family Department director Noriah Ahmad.

Women in politics

Younger generation of women in Sarawak have been asked to give time to politics in addition to carving out a career for themselves in professional fields.

During the launching of the book ‘Sarawak Women in Politics: The Pioneers’ in September last year, Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said women’s active involvement in politics is crucial to continue the political struggles in the state. “I hope not all young generation of

women in the state just want to work in the professional fields, but some must also give attention to politics because the political form in the state (since before independence) must be preserved by the women,” he remarked. In recalling the struggle of Sarawakian women in the political arena, Taib said women were actively involved in politics after the Second World War where they played an important role in spreading awareness among Sarawakians of the importance of struggle because the world had changed very rapidly after the war. “Actually, women had been involved and moved forward together with the male leaders to ensure the success of political foundation like the one that we can accept as heritage today,” he said. Among the pioneers were Datuk Ajibah Abol, Baidah Salleh, Barbara Mendu Bay, Bibi McPherson, Chi Mei Si, Hadiah Yaman, Datin Sri Hau Ngoi, Datuk Paduka Jorkinah Hashim, Lily Eberwin, Lucy Sanyin Miku, Datuk Tra Zehnder, Datuk Sharifah Mordiah Tuanku Fauzi and Datuk Paduka Pemanca Sharifah Rehanah Syed Razali. Women entrepreneurs — A force to be reckoned with

Women entrepreneurs in Sarawak have flourished and made a significant mark on the development

of the local economy.

Their involvement in operating their own businesses have shown their capabilities in an area once monopolised by men. During the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting last December, Industrial Development Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, in his winding up speech, lauded Sarawakian women entrepreneurs who have shown strong credibility in managing their finances, with the default rate among women in settling their business loans at only about 1 per cent. “Ninety-nine per cent of businesswomen in the state are repaying their loans on time, demonstrating high commitment in managing their finances,” he said. He said Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) is among agencies providing the highest micro financing to women entrepreneurs. As at October last year, RM155 million was provided to benefit 34,181 entrepreneurs in the state compared to RM165 million for 31,390 entrepreneurs for 2014. “Women entrepreneurs have shown good performance when it comes to repaying their loans, at about 99 per cent. “This shows strong commitment in managing their financing. “Kudos to Sarawak women entrepreneurs!” said Awang Tengah.

Women have a photo taken in front of a billboard celebrating Sarawak women in the arts.


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A Man of Principles and Actions DATUK Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s first official mention of his principles and actions was made during the ‘Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2015’ programme held in Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 24 last year.

Under this list, Adenan had outlined his achievements including those on policies — new and amended — beginning with the announcement of his chiefministership on Feb 28, 2014. At the event in PWTC, he urged those attending to read the pamphlets on his principles and actions, remarking: “With me, what you see is what you get. No pretence.” His call for another five years to enable him to do more for the state has become a familiar quote in many functions — one that rings like this: “I am only asking for five more years and after that, I don’t want to be the chief minister anymore. I am not after the position.” The following highlights Adenan’s 53 principles and actions in detail.

Petronas Commitments to Sarawak’s Requests 

Anak Sarawak

Adenan is tireless when it comes to championing for the rights of Sarawakians, regardless of their culture and background. 1. Bumiputeras in Sarawak should not be classified as ‘Lain-lain’ (Others). 2. Chinese are not ‘Pendatang’ (immigrants).  Adenan has stressed time and again that the Chinese especially, the generations after the second one, are not ‘pendatang’.  “If you care to look around Kuching, you can see thousands of Chinese graveyards, some of which are over 100 years old. Those people could not have died yesterday. They must have died 60 or 70 years already. So why should you call them ‘pendatang’? They are not the Bangladeshis or Burmese. They have been here for so many years,” he was quoted as saying on Feb 4, 2015. 3. Putrajaya is reminded that when making reference to, or defining Bumiputeras in any document or communication, it must include all natives in Sarawak other than the Malays. 4. Many illegal immigrants expelled — Immigration Department have been told to be more active and vigilant.

Free or Reduced Fee

To say Adenan is a caring leader is

would like to apply for scholarship or loans from Yayasan Sarawak, we will accept UEC, too.” Adenan, who is also Yayasan Sarawak chairman, added that he was still negotiating for other universities in the state to accept UEC.

Adenan, with his wife Datin Patinggi Dato Jamilah Anu on his left, wave to the crowd during the ‘Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2015’ programme in Kuala Lumpur. an understatement, since he has implemented several policies that place the welfare of Sarawakians above all else. Even though his hands are tied when it comes to Goods and Services Tax (GST), Adenan has seen to it that the people’s financial burden is cut down.

riff lectricit y ta e e c u d e R . 5 n the depending oon units ; ti c onsump

n 1, 2015, effective Ja riff is between domestic ta per cent. two and 40 015, e June 1, 2  effec tiv ff l tari is commercia and 50 per cent. 5 between 1 015, e June 1, 2 een  effectiv tw riff is be industrial ta per cent. 1 1 d eight an

end of toll collection and operation at the Tun Salahuddin Bridge after 12 years of concession, the Lanang Bridge in Sibu first became toll-free in late May 2015, and the toll collection at the Asean Bridge in Miri was also abolished on June 1, 2015. During the countdown event held in connection with the official toll abolishment for Tun Salahuddin Bridge, Adenan said: “I promise for as long as I am the chief minister of Sarawak, there will be no toll charges. The Pan Borneo Highway spanning over 1,000km that has a lot of bridges, will also be toll-free.” He added that the Prime Minister had also given his assurance that the Pan Borneo Highway would be toll-free once completed.

8. No GST on municipal services. 6. All ferry service fares throughout the state reduced to RM1 (from RM5 / RM10 / RM15 per crossing) effective July 1, 2015. 7. Toll abolishment for Lanang Bridge in Sibu (May 24, 2015), Asean Bridge in Miri (June 1, 2015) and Tun Salahuddin Bridge in Kuching (Jan 1, 2016).  Sarawak is now a toll-free state. While Jan 1, 2016 marked the

9. No quit rent (land rent) for residential properties and agriculture land less than 100 acres. Adenan first made this move known during a live broadcast interview on RTM’s TV1 on Feb 26 this year. The confirmation was announced during a press conference held at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia, also on March 15. “With effect from March 15,

Sarawakians of all background hold up banners, declaring their solid support for Adenan. — Photo taken Dec 31, 2015

2016, land rent shall no longer be charged on these land. All arrears and surcharges, if any, are hereby waived,” Adenan told the media then. The decision would affect 360,422 land titles with land rent amounting to RM8.58 million — equivalent to 19 per cent of total land rent. According to Adenan, 173,752 titles are on smallholder agriculture land — less than 100 acres — with rent amounting to RM3.62 million, or eight per cent of total land rent. The affected residential land involved 186,670 titles with land rent amounting to RM4.96 million, or 11 per cent of the total rent. “Even though the quit rent is not much, for those living in the rural areas, it is a substantial amount if they count in their cost of coming out to pay the quit rent,” Adenan was quoted as having said. Notably, he also said Sarawak was the first state in the country to implement such a policy. 10. Reduction in assessment rates for residential properties, between 10 per cent and 100 per cent. Government Promises to Chinese Independent Schools (including the recognition of UEC) Widely known as the chief minister for all — the Malays, Chinese, Ibans, Bidayuh, Orang Ulus and all other ethnic groups — Adenan’s administration is believed to be the

first state to recognise the credential held by Chinese independent school students, the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC). He has made it clear that even though Putrajaya still refuses to recognise UEC, the Sarawak government will not follow suit, but do it differently.

1 1. R e c o g n it n of Ch inese independio given RM3ent schools, RM4 millio million in 2014, RM5 millio n in 2015 and n in 2016

Opening a for Kuchin new school block Primary S g Chung Hua c Feb 4, Ad hool No 1 on e give RM6 nan promised to m Chinese in illion to 14 schools in dependent re-elected 2017, if he was as chief m inister.

12. The state government recognises the UEC for Yayasan Sarawak loan / scholarship, and entry into the state civil service.  At the ‘Leader Meets People’ session in Lundu on Feb 24, 2016, Adenan once again gave his assurance that UEC ‘is recognised in Sarawak’.  “I don’t care what the federal government says. If UEC holders want to apply to work in the state civil service, they can do so. The same goes for those who

As an oil-producing state in Malaysia, Sarawak deserves to be given more. The state government, under Adenan’s leadership, has not given up on negotiating with Petronas with regard to the request to increase oil and gas royalties from five to 20 per cent. As Adenan’s administration is working towards this end, the chief minister himself has successfully secured annual contracts for local companies in the state, and also increased Petronas’ various assistance schemes to Sarawak.

13. Contracts to be given to Sarawak companies (baseline worth RM2.1 billion every year). 14. Increase in Petronas’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) — RM10 million per year. 15. Petronas Education Assistance / Technical School (valued at RM420 million for five years). 16. Petronas has agreed to supply 450 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of natural gas at special negotiated prices for the power sector and nonpower sector in Sarawak.

Rural Transformation 

Adenan has repeatedly said he is very concerned about the urban and rural development divide, which leads to poverty among the rural folk in Sarawak. He has thus decided to create new division, districts and subdistricts, as well as to allocate extra millions to spur rural development. “As for the Bidayuhs, we have elevated Serian as a division. Among the divisions, Samarahan is for the Malays, Kapit for the Ibans, Miri for Orang Ulus and Mukah for Melanaus. So we set up a new division for the Bidayuhs,” said Adenan in an event at Damai Beach Resort on Jan 29 this year.

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S P E C I A L S UP P L E ME NT

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Man of Principles and Actions

Adenan greets the pupils of Kuching Chung Hua Primary School No 1.

FROM PAGE E27 17. The government enhances its services to the rural areas with the creation of;  Serian as a new division.  nine new districts — Tebedu, Subis, Beluru, Telang Usan, Sebauh, Bukit Mabong, Tanjung Manis, Pusa, and Kabong.  Seven new sub-districts — Siburan, barrio, Tinjar, Long Bedian, Mulu, Nanga Budu, and Nanga Merit. 18. Extra RM1.5 billion has been allocated for rural development to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas.  The Sarawak Budget 2016 was set to give greater emphasis on rural development, with hundreds of millions of ringgit allocated to implement various road and bridge projects to further improve the connectivity in the state.  “The projects included Kuala Serupai/Kuala Tatau Road, Bintulu; bridge over Kuala Tatau at Kampung Seberang, Bintulu; road network and drainage system for Samalaju New Township; Sungai Sibuti Bridge and access road, Bekenu, Miri; bridge across Sungai Bako, Kuching; and Long Lama Bridge across Batang Baram, Miri,” said Adenan when tabling the Supply (2016) Bill, 2015 at the State Legislative Assembly sitting last December.  To accelerate growth in rural areas, Adenan said an additional sum of RM500 million would be allocated in 2016 for Rural Transformation Programmes (RTP) across Sarawak.  On top of that, he said a sum of RM166 million had also been provided for Minor Rural Projects (MRP).

No Non-Sarawak Political Party 

Adenan has subscribed to the notion that ‘Sarawakians can look after themselves well’. He is also of the opinion that nonSarawak political parties could not have known the local issues better than the Sarawakians themselves.

19. No to Peninsular Malaysiabased parties in Sarawak.

“Who knows Sarawak better than the Sarawakians themselves? I don’t claim to know Perlis, Kelantan and other states. We can take care of ourselves, and we know how to,” he told a townhall session ‘Kamek Ngan CM Adenan’ — the highlight of ‘Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2015’ programme in Kuala Lumpur last Oct 24.

28. ‘Alibaba’ deep-sea fishing licences have been reviewed and cancelled, and any issuance of new licences is to be referred to the state government.

20. Umno agrees not to set up its political branches in Sarawak.  “I have always said this, we don’t want Umno to come here, not because we don’t like Umno, no — but because there is already Umno here, except the name is different. More or less the same, isn’t it? And the Malays here especially, want to work together with the other Bumiputeras like the Ibans, Bidayuhs and so on. If we are successful in that area, why change it? I want you to understand, not because we don’t like Umni — no. We will work together with them, yes. I’ve explained it to the Prime Minister and he understands. And he has said to me, that they have no intention to come. So the matter is academic,” Adenan said on Feb 14, 2015.

29. All recipients under welfare assistance programme receive extra RM50 per month.  Adenan has also pledged to help the hardcore poor families especially those in rural areas across Sarawak, if Putrajaya still refuses to consider the state government’s request to grant 1Azam funds this year. 30. Improve housing policy for more affordable homes for Sarawakians. 31. Eliminate all legislation and policies that discriminate against women and to provide them with equal opportunities

Greater Autonomy and Empowerment for Sarawak 

“The getting out of Malaysia is just stupid talk. We want autonomy, yes; but secession, no. We find safety, security and prosperity in Malaysia. It was Malaysia before, is Malaysia now and will be Malaysia forever,” said Adenan at the launch of National Month and Fly Jalur Gemilang Campaign 2015 on Aug 10.

Usage of English 

This photo dated Feb 6, 2016 shows the aerial view of works being done on the Pan Borneo Highway’s section at Simpang Nyabau-Simpang Bakun, which has soft, swampy soil — a challenge for the contractrors. This picture was taken during a ‘Pan Borneo Highway Tour with Media’, which Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadilah Yusof also joined.

21. In recognition of our selfgovernment on July 22, 1963, the state decided to declare July 22 as a public holiday. 22. The state government is committed to continue negotiations with the federal government on the increase in oil royalty from FIVE per cent to 20 per cent.  “I will not stop negotiating until we get what we want,”

State Legislative Assembly and political secretaries have undertaken the Integrity Pledge. Adenan ‘walked his talk’ when he undertook the ‘Integrity Pledge’ in just months after being in office, in commitment to the agreement recommended by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

said Adenan during the oneday State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting last Aug 17. He said he had also told Petronas that all Sarawak state government cared about was the oil and gas found in Sarawak. “If it is found in Johor, Pahang or Terengganu, I don’t care — it’s their business. But if it is in Sarawak, we make it our business. That is why we are the government of this state.”

23. Sarawak will insist on more autonomy as enshrined

in the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963, Inter Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Cobbold Commission Report. 24. The first phase of negotiations secured a 13-point agreement with the federal government on the delegation of powers, and empowerment to state authorities by way of administrative power. 25. The second phase of negotiations now focuses on

laws that impinge on Sarawak’s rights under the Federal Constitution.

On this, Adenan remarked: “I have been labelled as not being nationalistic or patriotic enough by others when I advocate the use of English in Sarawak. I am just being practical and logical. I don’t know who made the decision not to use English in the past, but it has adversely affected other people now.”

26. The third phase of negotiations on the devolution of powers from the federal government back to Sarawak will involve matters on financial provisions.

32. English to be the medium for non-national schools still under negotiation. Correspondences in state government can either be in English or Bahasa Malaysia.

New Administrative Policies

33. English to be adopted as the second official language of Sarawak, alongside Bahasa Malaysia.

27. Sarawak is the first state where all ministers, assistant ministers, members of the

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Adenan and other dignitaries lift the bar to mark the end of toll collection and operation at the Tun Salahuddin Bridge in Kuching.


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A Man of Principles and Actions FROM PAGE E28

Environment, Sustainable Forest Management and Enforcement

34. Moratorium on Baram Dam. 35. International scholars and naturalist are welcome to do research in our national parks. 36. Collaborations with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) encouraged. 37. No more new timber licences and state land for commercial plantation. 38. The fight against illegal logging will be continued. Eighty-four (84) Occupational Ticket (OT) licences for timber extraction cancelled or not renewed.  The OT licences were cancelled in line with the state government’s serious commitment towards combating illegal logging, announced Adenan after opening the 43rd nationallevel anniversary celebration of Malaysia Volunteers Department (Rela) on Feb 8, 2015. “Some (licences) already expired and we will not renew and some applied for renewal (and we do not approve). We reduce the number,” he said.

42. Everyone is free to practise their religions. 

43. No restriction on the use of the word ‘ALLAH’ — provided it is done with respect.

 

44. No restriction on Bahasa Malaysia Bible in Sarawak.

Teachers in Sarawak

45. No Hudud Law in Sarawak. 46. Bigots and extremists are not welcome in Sarawak as our state embraces cultural diversity, unity and harmony.

49. The federal government has agreed to Sarawak’s request that 90 per cent of teachers teaching in Sarawak are Sarawakians, by 2018.

Technical Education 

Sarawak now produces 12,000 of skilled workers a year, while Adenan aims to produce 40,000 skilled workers annually. His objective is in line with the state’s target to meet the demand of 600,000 skilled workers at Samalaju Industrial Park.

47. Sarawak gives priority to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and has started its own technical institute — Centre of Technical Excellence (CENTEXS).

four-lane highway across Sarawak. modern bridges, proper rest-stop areas, designated lay-bys. reduced travelling time. enhanced safety on roads. toll-free.

Minister of Welfare, Women and Family Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said 1,164 teachers from Peninsular Malaysia had left Sarawak since Jan 1 this year. “There are now 31,652 local teachers and 8,173 teachers from other states,” she said on Feb 26, 2016.”  Fatimah wa s confident that Adenan’s ‘90:10 Initiative’ would be realised, adding: “We are going towards that direction and the ‘90:10 Initiative’ will definitely be achievable as scheduled. This shows that what the opposition claims — that the initiatives of Adenan are only talks — is not true.” 

Adenan delivers his remarks at the official opening of Sejiwa Senada programme in Sibu.

Pan-Borneo Highway Sarawak

48. From Telok Melano, Lundu to Merapok, Lawas spanning a total distance of 1.089KM

will be upgraded, with the following benefits; accelerate economic development throughout the state. from two-lane road to

39. As a result of our fight against illegal logging, 36 sawmills have closed down. 40. Ten (10) per cent of the state’s land mass to be gazetted as Totally Protected Areas (TPAs).

Sarawak Harmony 

Kuching became the first city in Malaysia officially proclaimed as a ‘City of Unity’, said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, a member of the Board of Trustees for 1Malaysia Foundation. “This underscores the importance for all races and ethnic groups to work and live together, to do their best to make this country of Malaysia a truly multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation.” Lee pointed out the fact that various ethnic groups in Kuching had been able to live in peace and harmony justified the city to be bestowed with the status. “This is the basis for strengthening the nation — for all Malaysians to realise that it is only through unity that we can bring the nation together,” Lee told journalists during the 27th City Day celebration on Aug 1 last year. Adenan, who launched the celebration, called upon Sarawakians to continue upholding their belief in unity amidst diversity and showing the rest of Malaysia how to live in peace and harmony. His policies include:

41. Sarawak has no tolerance for racists.

Adenan is always at ease with people from all walks of life when attending any function where he is the guest of honour.

Adenan takes a view across Kubah Ria Riverfront after launching Karnival 1Azam at the commercial centre near Kuching.

Sarawak Land

50. Declare more communal land for the purpose of improving the livelihood and welfare of the people. 51. Recognition of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land and the continuous undertaking of perimeter and individual surveys have succeeded in bringing more of these land onto the register and opening up opportunities for the natives to develop their land on commercial basis. 52. Recent amendment to Section 5 (5A) of the Sarawak Land Code would enable the Bumiputeras of Sarawak to acquire NCR land outside of their own community; thereby enhancing opportunities to develop NCR land. 53. Retaining the original terms of the parent title to subdivided plots erases landowners’ anxiety and tenure. guarantees the land tenure


S P E C I A L S UP P L E M E N T

Sunday, May 1, 2016

E30

Graphic summary of

Adenan’s

‘53 Principles and Action’ Anak Sarawak 1.

Bumiputeras in Sarawak should not be classified as ‘Lain-lain’ (Others).

2.

Chinese are not ‘Pendatang’ (immigrants).

3.

Putrajaya is reminded that when making reference to, or defining Bumiputeras in any document or communication, it must include all natives in Sarawak other than the Malays.

4.

37. No more new timber licences and state land for commercial plantation. 38. The fight against illegal logging will be continued. Eighty-four (84) Occupational Ticket (OT) licences for timber extraction cancelled or not renewed. 39. As a result of our fight against illegal logging, 36 sawmills have closed down. 40. Ten (10) per cent of the state’s land mass to be gazetted as Totally Protected Areas (TPAs).

Many illegal immigrants expelled — Immigration Department have been told to be more active and vigilant.

Free or Reduced Fee 5.

36. Collaborations with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) encouraged.

Reduced electricity tariffs depending on the consumption units; effective Jan 1, 2015, domestic tariff is between two and 40 per cent. effective June 1, 2015, commercial tariff is between 15 and 50 per cent. effective June 1, 2015, industrial tariff is between eight and 11 per cent.

6.

All ferry service fares throughout the state reduced to RM1 (from RM5 / RM10 / RM15 per crossing) effective July 1, 2015.

7.

Sarawak Harmony No Non-Sarawak Political Party 19.

No to Peninsular Malaysia-based parties in Sarawak.

20.

Umno agrees not to set up its political branches in Sarawak.

Greater Autonomy and Empowerment for Sarawak 21.

In recognition of our self-government on July 22, 1963, the state decided to declare July 22 as a public holiday.

Toll abolishment for Lanang Bridge in Sibu (May 24, 2015), Asean Bridge in Miri (June 1, 2015) and Tun Salahuddin Bridge in Kuching (Jan 1, 2016).

22.

The state government is committed to continue negotiations with the federal government on the increase in oil royalty from FIVE per cent to 20 per cent.

8.

No Goods and Services Tax (GST) on municipal services.

23.

9.

No quit rent (land rent) for residential properties and agriculture land less than 100 acres.

Sarawak will insist on more autonomy as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963, Inter Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Cobbold Commission Report.

10.

Reduction in assessment rates for residential properties, between 10 per cent and 100 per cent.

24.

The first phase of negotiations secured a 13-point agreement with the federal government on the delegation of powers, and empowerment to state authorities by way of administrative power.

25.

The second phase of negotiations now focuses on laws that impinge on Sarawak’s rights under the Federal Constitution.

Government Promises to Chinese Independent Schools (including the recognition of UEC) 11.

12.

In recognition of Chinese independent schools, they’re given RM3 million in 2014, RM4 million in 2015 and RM5 million in 2016. The state government recognises the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) for Yayasan Sarawak loan / scholarship, and entry into the state civil service.

Petronas Commitments to Sarawak’s Requests

26.

The third phase of negotiations on the devolution of powers from the federal government back to Sarawak will involve matters on financial provisions.

New Administrative Policies 27.

Sarawak is the first state where all ministers, assistant ministers, members of the State Legislative Assembly and political secretaries have undertaken the Integrity Pledge.

28.

‘Alibaba’ deep-sea fishing licences have been reviewed and cancelled, and any issuance of new licences is to be referred to the state government.

13.

Contracts to be given to Sarawak companies (baseline worth RM2.1 billion every year).

29.

14.

Increase in Petronas’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) — RM10 million per year.

All recipients under welfare assistance programme receive extra RM50 per month.

30.

15.

Petronas Education Assistance / Technical School (valued at RM420 million for five years).

Improve housing policy for more affordable homes for Sarawakians.

31.

Eliminate all legislation and policies that discriminate against women and to provide them with equal opportunities.

16.

Petronas has agreed to supply 450 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of natural gas at special negotiated prices for the power sector and non-power sector in Sarawak.

Rural Transformation

Usage of English 32.

English to be the medium for non-national schools still under negotiation. Correspondences in state government can either be in English or Bahasa Malaysia.

17.

The government enhances its services to the rural areas with the creation of;

33.

Ø Ø

Serian as a new division. nine new districts — Tebedu, Subis, Beluru, Telang Usan, Sebauh, Bukit Mabong, Tanjung Manis, Pusa, and Kabong. Seven new sub-districts — Siburan, barrio, Tinjar, Long Bedian, Mulu, Nanga Budu, and Nanga Merit.

Environment, Sustainable Forest Management and Enforcement

Ø 18.

Extra RM1.5 billion has been allocated for rural development to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas.

41. Sarawak has no tolerance for racists. 42.

Everyone is free to practise their religions.

43.

No restriction on the use of the word ‘ALLAH’ — provided it is done with respect.

44.

No restriction on Bahasa Malaysia Bible in Sarawak.

45.

No Hudud Law in Sarawak.

46.

Bigots and extremists are not welcome in Sarawak as our state embraces cultural diversity, unity and harmony.

Technical Education 47.

Pan-Borneo Highway Sarawak 48.

From Telok Melano, Lundu to Merapok, Lawas spanning a total distance of 1.089KM will be upgraded, with the following benefits; >accelerate economic development throughout the state. >from two-lane road to four-lane highway across Sarawak. >modern bridges, proper rest-stop areas, designated lay-bys. >reduced travelling time. >enhanced safety on roads. >toll-free.

Teachers in Sarawak 49.

Moratorium on Baram Dam.

35.

International scholars and naturalist are welcome to do research in our national parks.

The federal government has agreed to Sarawak’s request that 90 per cent of teachers teaching in Sarawak are Sarawakians, by 2018.

Sarawak Land 50.

Declare more communal land for the purpose of improving the livelihood and welfare of the people.

51.

Recognition of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land and the continuous undertaking of perimeter and individual surveys have succeeded in bringing more of these land onto the register and opening up opportunities for the natives to develop their land on commercial basis.

52.

Recent amendment to Section 5 (5A) of the Sarawak Land Code would enable the Bumiputeras of Sarawak to acquire NCR land outside of their own community; thereby enhancing opportunities to develop NCR land.

53.

Retaining the original terms of the parent title to sub-divided plots erases landowners’ anxiety and guarantees the land tenure.

English to be adopted as the second official language of Sarawak, alongside Bahasa Malaysia.

34.

Sarawak gives priority to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and has started its own technical institute — Centre of Technical Excellence (CENTEXS)


S P E C I A L S UP P L E ME NT

The womenfolk of a longhouse in Kapit work together to weave ‘pua kumbu’ – one of the Iban community’s most iconic crafts. IT was a triumphant moment for the Dayaks on Oct 30, 2015 when the federal government approved the term ‘Dayak’ to replace ‘Lain-lain’ (Others) in the ‘Race’ category on official government forms – a milestone for the community, having been referred to as ‘Lain-lain’ for more than 50 years. This was announced and confirmed by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun, who said the move had been pursued vigorously by the Sarawak government. “In Peninsular Malaysia, the term Bumiputera (‘Sons of the Motherland’) refers to the Malays and the Orang Asal (indigenous people). “In Sarawak, the term Bumiputera refers to the status of the Dayak community, comprising many ethnic groups. “As such, they are entitled to some privileges and special rights,” Entulu was quoted as having said then. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, although a Malay, is one of Sarawak leaders fighting vigorously towards ensuring that the Dayaks would get this request granted. It is understood that Adenan, the fifth chief minister of Sarawak, wanted to restore the pride and dignity to the Dayaks.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

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Pride and honour for the Dayaks Upholding Dayak identity

According to Yayasan Tun Jugah research director Dr Robert Menua Salleh, the Ibans are, in fact, a highly civilised community as they have distinctive laws, cultures and traditions that have stood the test of time.

The Ibans across Borneo are also a disciplined and courageous lot, which explains their culture of ‘bejalai’ – moving from places to places to look for better opportunities such as better land to cultivate paddy and other crops, as well as to set up new settlements. “Originally the Ibans were from Kalimantan, but they moved to Sarawak and eventually owned vast acreage of land later on. “The ‘cawat’ or ‘sirat’ (loincloth) is a part of our culture, but one that should not be associated with being backwards or uncivilised,” he said, adding that as an ethnic group, the Ibans are naturally adaptable to various types of social and cultural environments. On the issue of beliefs, Christians in Sarawak are still allowed to use the word ‘Allah Taala’ to refer to God. The Dayak Christians have been using the term for generations and it has been embedded in their language for so long. Adenan, on numerous occasions, had assured Sarawak Christians that it would be fine for them to pray

File photo shows Iban girls fully dressed in traditional costumes as they welcome guests to their longhouse in Sarikei during a special occasion. and sing songs of praise using the word ‘Allah’. Having said this, the proponents of the ban against the usage of the word ‘Allah’ in Christian

publications, sermons and speeches were intensely vocal about it and the situation got quite intense, including a series of courtroom battles, but everything ended with

a federal court’s decision favouring the state government. Adenan had stressed that Sarawak Christians could use the term simply because that was how they pray and praise God. This signified the racial harmony in Sarawak, ‘Land of the Hornbills’.

Social matters

The Social Development Ministry has been carrying out a number of studies on social issues over the past several years.

The ‘Miring’ – a ritual to appease the Gods in the hope of receiving their blessings – is still being performed at villages and longhouses across Sarawak.

Minister Tan Sri William Mawan said these studies had been compiled into books based on the subject matters related to youth, volunteerism and urbanisation. “Those studies have become sources of reference for other agencies in their planning of programmes. “The next project is to publish a research summary book pertaining to women and family,” he said during one of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sittings last year. In 2015, the research focused on ‘Sarawak’s Ethnic Cultures’ — undertaken with the objectives of documenting, preserving and conserving the state’s unique traditional cultures, for future reference. The other programmes that the ministry implemented include

conducting forums to share findings from studies and monitor the implementation of social programmes by the resident’s and district offices, as well as other related agencies. Allocations had also been set aside to enable these authoritative bodies to organise more activities slated for social development. The ministry, in collaboration with the National Culture and Arts Department, has succeeded in its endeavour to unearth and develop talents in both traditional and modern performing arts such as dancing, singing, playing musical instruments and performing theatre. One of the most visibly successful programmes slated for ongoing preservation of arts and culture is the Simfoni Orkestra Negeri Sarawak (SONS), which was set up in 1988. Mawan said he hoped nongovernmental organisations like Yayasan Tun Jugah, Dayak Cultural Foundation, Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA), Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak (AKYBMS), Melanau Association, Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) and Federation of Orang Ulu Association Malaysia (Forum), could assist the government in preserving and protecting the state’s arts and culture.


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Sunday, May 1, 2016

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Major boost for state’s tourism industry THE state government has allocated RM20 million for tourism-related projects this year. This include the expansion of North Yu Seng/Jalan Merpa , Miri (Tourism Belt); Bakam Point, Miri; riverbank beau fica on and walkway from Kampung Boyan to Fort Margherita; and the upgrading of Dalat Waterfront, Mukah (Phase III). Under the federal Tourism and Culture Ministry, RM3.4 million has been allocated to upgrade Niah Na onal Park and RM2.5 million to re-develop the Heritage Trail from Kampung Bintangor to Kuching Esplanade, which will be carried out under the first Rolling Plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) from 2016 to 2017.

Private sector support

Upgrade of na onal parks The Tourism Ministry will upgrade and improve facili es at:

• Bako Na onal Park • Semenggoh Wildlife Centre • Matang Wildlife Centre • Mulu Na onal Park. The discovery of a six-millionyear-old cave in Mulu will also bring added value to the Sarawak’s tourism sector.

• Review tour guide licensing and syllabus, • Event and Fes val Commi ee, • Gen Y project such as street art, work opportuni es, youth ambassadors.

Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg admi ed 2015 was a challenging year for the Sarawak Tourism Federa on (STF) and tourism stakeholders with the implementa on and impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), minimum wage, and the ringgit’s deprecia on.

Medical tourism

The ministry set up a special pla orm known as The Sarawak Tourism Forum early last year with tourism industry players through STF. “The Sarawak Tourism Forum acts as a venue to discuss policies, issues and current trends affec ng the tourism sector, while at the same me provide input for future improvement and development,” said Abang Johari. The forum came up with 10 major proposals and eight working groups with priority areas being to: • Establish a heritage body or council to regulate heritage conserva on, • Ensure preserva on and future development of known heritage sites, • Review and audit na onal parks, including the upgrading of facili es at Bako Na onal Park, • Develop marke ng taskforce to address branding of Sarawak, • Licensing of accommoda on providers,

Of the 4.8 million tourist arrivals last year, a very high percentage came from medical tourism par cularly medical tourists from Pon anak and Jakarta, Indonesia. “Such demand goes to show that the medical services our specialists offer are of quality. This is what we have to acknowledge because if our services are not sa sfactory, they will not come,” said Abang Johari. He proposed the Sarawak Economic Development Corpora on (SEDC) equip its hotel facili es in Damai, some 35km from Kuching, with the necessary equipment to offer post-treatment services for medical tourists. Ci ng the Maldives, he said medical tourists there received posttreatment at hotels for full recovery. “This is a new concept that we shall embrace because we have nature that can offer fresh air for medical tourists who are in posttreatment or therapy to give them be er recovery,” he said.

Mulu will be among the na onal parks to undergo an upgrade and have be er facili es for tourists.

Kuching may see more specialist hospitals following the rising number of medical tourists.

Abang Johari (third right) witnessing the exchange of documents in December 2015 which was signed between Sarawak Tourism Board chief execu ve officer and Tourism Ministry permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik (second le ) and Hong Kong Airlines Strategy and Planning Commercial Department manager Andre Zhang, while Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip and the then-Chinese Consul-General Liu Quan looked on.

Introducing direct flights to Hong Kong SARAWAK will have direct flights to Hong Kong from April following a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Hong Kong Airlines, a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines Ltd in December.

Under the MOU, Hong Kong Airlines would fly its 174-seat A320 on the Hong Kong-Kuching-Hong Kong route twice weekly. As part of the agreement, Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said STB would provide incen ves and support to ensure the sustainability of the route. “On this endeavour, Tourism Malaysia and Malaysian Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will also offer incen ves, apart from STB. The ini al agreement outlined the route to be flown between Hong Kong and Kuching on Wednesdays and Sundays, with the me slots

On this endeavour, Tourism Malaysia and Malaysian Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will also offer incen ves, apart from STB. Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, Tourism Minister

to be determined by the airline based on market demand and also the approval by the Hong Kong government,” he said. A series of market introduc ons on Hong Kong and ci es across Southern China would be part of marke ng plans. “These will include roadshows in the iden fied ci es, business sessions with Hong Kong Airlines officials and travel agents currently selling Malaysia in China’s southern

region — all of which will be followed up by familiarisa on trips. “We will also further promote interes ng tourism products that we have through various tools, such as the crea on of media awareness and adver sing by means of digital, online and print (channels),” he said.

Boos ng tourist arrivals from China STB will leverage on STF and Malaysian Associa on of Tour and Travel Agents (Ma a) Sarawak to facilitate partnerships with Sarawak’s outbound agents to ensure seats for the outbound leg would be equally a ended to.

The board will also engage agents in Pon anak to create awareness of the Hong Kong-Kuching flight, tapping into passengers from West

Kalimantan. Abang Johari said Tourism Malaysia offices in Hong Kong and Guangzhou would be engaged and syndicated to leverage on their market presence, towards ensuring the state’s marke ng interests are monitored and coordinated and assist in the marke ng of the flight to Sarawak. He said the direct flight should be able to drive tourist arrivals from China, where the realis c figure of 80 per cent would be possible. “We feel that this ini a ve would benefit us a lot as it would provide greater convenience to travellers, especially those coming here for MICE (mee ngs, incen ves, conferences and exhibi ons) events because by taking direct flights from Hong Kong, they would go through only one immigra on check,” he added.

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(Front centre) Adenan officiates at the Kuching City Day event with Kuching North Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai (right) and Kuching South Mayor Datuk James Chan as other dignitaries look on. Abang Johari is at left.

The first-ever ‘City of Unity’ FROM PAGE E32 KUCHING was officially declared the City of Unity on Aug 1, 2015 by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem at the Kuching City Day celebration.

“We are indeed honoured to be chosen as the city in our country to be the number one in terms of how to live in harmony with one another. Let us, in this troubled times when there is tension among races, religions and cultures, show them how to live together in peace and Tourists enjoy a performance at the Rainforest World Music Festival. harmony,” he said. “Let us be an example to the rest of Malaysia, that we believe in unity and in diversity. Even though we are diverse, several cultures and so on, we can and we will live together in unity and in peace.” The concept was suggested by the 1Malaysia Foundation following studies in all cities in Malaysia to assess and identify those with qualities rooted in unity. “Apparently from the studies, it shows that Kuching has met all the strict criteria listed in the justifications, especially in terms of accepting cultural diversity, mutual understanding and true harmony,” explained Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg. “The other criteria include city status, large ethnic and cultural diversity, good schooling system and so on.” Activities planned include an international forum on unity where international scholars will give talks and share their experience on unity. “This is not only in the context of Malaysia but rather the international dimension. This is a very important forum to share our experience and vision as we will also be declaring a part of our city as a cultural heritage site,” said Abang Johari. He said the heritage area of Kuching, where major places of worship sit within walking distance, is where the significant traits and characteristics of a city with high acceptance for diversity can be seen. “And there is of course our interaction among various communities – the Malay, Chinese, natives and even foreigners – the warm hospitality like no other where even foreigners could feel a sense of belonging in the city. “We also want to get young people to be involved through various competitions that could reflect our interactions with a diversity of people within our community which is embodied in our nation-building,” he said.

Bidayuh women in traditional costumes ready to welcome guests at an event.

Traditional buffalo races can be developed as a tourism attraction in Lawas.


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Adenan (sixth right) and Mawan (fifth left) joining other distinguished guests for a memento photo-call with the award winners at the state-level 2015 Youth Day celebration in Bintulu.

Engaging and empowering youths THE state government will continue to engage and empower youths across all levels and through comprehensive outreach programmes that involve sports, education, business, culture and volunteerism. At the state-level Youth Day celebration in Bintulu last June, Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan said such approach would be undertaken to ensure that the potential and capability of the younger generation could be fully utilised, particularly towards technical development. “The youths of today are the leaders of tomorrow. The emphasis on technical and skills education is in line with the development of SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy).” He said his ministry had outlined various outreach programmes in the hope that they would encourage the youths to become

more proactive. On the state-level Youth Day, themed ‘Youths Uphold Nation’s Transformation’ (‘Belia Tonggak Transformasi Negara’), Mawan said the government had agreed that the celebration, along with all activities that went with it, would be ongoing till the end of the year across all districts. “It also aims at giving rural youths the same opportunity as their urban counterparts in terms of involvement in these activities. Moreover with us hosting the Malaysia Games, we would require more youth volunteers. As such, they should start from now by taking part in activities lined up during Youth Day.” Several youth awards were also presented at the event by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, namely the ‘Special Youth Icon’ to Jamery Siga, ‘Sports Youth Icon’ to Diana Bong Siong Lin, ‘Special Recognition for Youth

These youths represent the participants of the Youth Day celebration in Bintulu in the ‘Youth Pledge’ ceremony. Arts Association’ to SMK St Joseph Kuching, ‘Youth Association Award’ to Angkatan Belia Islam Sarawak

(Abim), and a special accolade to Li Han Boon of the Young Malaysian Movement Sarawak.

A silat exponent displaying some intricate manoeuvres with a machete during a session.

Gaining input from youths via forums A SERIES of ‘Tegas Youth Forums’ was held across the state to gather input from the group and then formulate a policy to empower them towards becoming movers and shakers in the state’s development.

A young martial artist showing his

skills during a wushu challenge.

More focus on youth activities GREATER focus on youths was on the 2015 Agenda of Kuching City North Commission (DBKU), which was launched by Adenan early last year.

North Kuching Datuk Bandar

Datuk Abdul Wahap Abang Julai said the main agenda for 2015 focused on two areas — tackling social issues involving youths and their own housekeeping.

The four-part series, held from September to November last year, was run by Sarawak Bumiputera Trust Fund (Tegas) in collaboration with the Workforce Development Unit of Chief Minister’s Office. Tegas chairman Datu Len Talif Salleh, who is also Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Office (Promotion of Technical Education), said the forum aimed to raise the state’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector to a higher level. The government had identified TVET to play the main role in producing skilled and semi-skilled workforce in the state’s aspiration to produce a high income society and become a developed state within the next 15 years. Youths were advised to grab the opportunity to have a dialogue with the chief minister; to discuss issues ranging from social, economy to politics; and to know the government’s stand and policies to strengthen the state’s development. Its target group was those aged 18 to 35, including higher learning students and members of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). “The chief minister has targeted to produce an average of 40,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers annually. The state records, on average, 40,000 SPM school-leavers every year,” said Len, adding that there was still much to be done to ensure that students would be exposed to TVET for the job market. These feisty girls conducting a group Tang Soo Do demonstration.

“In our effort to make Kuching the most talked about town in 2017, we need the support of everyone, especially youths who are the pillars of our future. For

that to be possible, social ills among youths must be tackled,” he said.

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Abdul Haris says the Aquatic Centre of Excellence in Kuching is to be used for the training of swimmers and divers to ensure that Sarawak would remain a powerhouse in aquatics.

Provision of sports facilities for youths FROM PAGE E34 THE Youth and Sports Department of Sarawak plays a vital role in the promotion and development of sports in the state. Its director Abdul Haris Ishak said his department is working very closely with the Social Development Ministry, Sarawak Sports Corporation, Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS), state Education Department and other youth and sports bodies and agencies to promote and develop sports.

“We work hand in hand with the Sarawak government to increase the involvement of the people in not only competitive sports, but also in mass/community sports through various programmes,” he said in an interview. Abdul Haris said his department provided numerous sports facilities throughout the state that were accessible to the people, in line with the federal government’s ‘Sports For All’ policy. “We have built futsal courts not only in the urban but also in the rural areas to provide an avenue for the youths to play futsal. Sarawak has the biggest number of 1Malaysia futsal courts in the country, with 239 and three more to be added — two in Tebedu and one near Jalan Jambusan in Bau. “We also have 1Malaysia gymnasiums in Sri Aman, Sarikei, Kapit, Miri and Limbang, community sports multi-purpose a hall in Mukah, synthetic football fields in Kuching and Bintulu, and a gym at UTC (Urban Transformation Centre) Kuching. Apart from that, we have the Aquatic Centre of Excellence at the Youth and Sports Complex in Kuching for the training of swimmers and divers to ensure

that Sarawak would remain a powerhouse in aquatics,” he added. Abdul Haris said the multipurpose hall at the Youth and Sports Complex could also be used for sports such as sepak takraw, badminton and volleyball. Adding on, he also said the sports facilities provided by Sarawak Youth and Sports Department were very popular and fully utilised, especially the 1Malaysia futsal courts in the rural areas. “As we know, there are limited sports facilities in rural areas, so the futsal courts there are very popular and fully utilised by the youths. For the hosting of Sukma (Malaysia Games) XVIII, we are building a squash centre — a project that commenced on Aug 25 last year, and is expected to be finished on April 24 this year. We are hoping to produce more worldclass players like Nicol Ann David. “We have also helped to upgrade the Serian Sports Stadium, of which the works were completed on Sept 11 last year.” According to Abdul Haris, his department also provides assistance to paralympic athletes through funding for talent identification, and ITrain programmes as well as sponsorships for paralympic athletes to compete in national or international events. “Our state paralympic team have an excellent track record, having won the Malaysian Paralympic Games for a record 11 consecutive times. Some of them have even represented Malaysia in swimming and powerlifting — in SEA Games and World Paralympics — and brought back medals. We are all very proud of their achievement.” Abdul Haris said while his side

Youths engaged in a futsal game at one of the 1Malaysia futsal courts in the state.

provided funding and assistance to youth and sports organisations, they needed to become registered bodies recognised by the government. Last year, the department were given RM1,043,195 to implement 32 programmes and this year, the estimated

budget was RM817,837 for 16 programmes.

For the hosting of Sukm a XVIII, we are building a squash centre — a project that commenced on Aug 25 last year, and is expected to be finish ed on April 24 this year . We are hoping to produce more world -class players like Nico l Ann David. — Abdul Haris Ishak, Sarawak Youth and Spo rts Department direct or

The Youth and Sports Complex at Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce in Kuching.

The pool inside the Aquatic Centre of Excellence inside the Youth and Sports Complex.


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(From left) Jonathan, Voon, Ho, Daniel and Pete pose with SMK St Columba principal and management board members after receiving certificates of recognition from Miri Education Department officer Dr Hassan Hasbollah.

Anatomy of success for youth development in sports SARAWAK is on track to top the medal tally come the hosting of the 18th Malaysia Games (Sukma) on July 22-31, 2016. The confidence is not only based on preparations across over 20 sports that have been put in place in recent years, but also on macro factors in youth development – infrastructure, policies and programmes – that sustain an environment conducive to ensuring long-term success. Certainly, there are human factors as well – administrators, officials, coaches and athletes. In February, Mukah hosted the annual 2016 Sarawak Schools Sports Council (MSSM)’s Cross-Country Championships. Samarahan took home three trophies while Kapit, Sarikei and Mukah walked away with one each, but the hosts were elated when they clinched the overall championship crown after their Girls’ Under-18 and Under-12 teams finished second, and their Boys’ Under-15 and Under-12 teams ended third to add to their Girls’ Under-15 victory. Mukah’s triumph was but another example of how youths from smaller towns could compete on par with their city counterparts in state-level competitions. This could be attributed to improvement in facilities and equipment to match those in more urbanised centres, as well as the passion of coaches and teachers dedicating themselves to harness available talents across

People expect weightlifting athletes to be in a big-size body figure. But we wanted to defy the odds, and we made it with athletes with a smaller-size body figure. Perhaps, the judges were impressed by the surprise. Teacher-advisor, SMK St Columba MIri various parts of Sarawak. A month after Mukah’s outing, three students from Miri also surprised many by performing so well in another sport that they now stand a chance to represent Sarawak in July’s Sukma. Ho Hong Huat, Pete Michel and Daniel Nyuin of SMK St Columba won their respective weight categories in the pre-Sukma InterDivision Weightlifting Competition. Their tally of five gold medals also helped Miri to clinch the overall title at the state-level event. The ecstatic teacher-advisor of the school’s weightlifting club remarked: “People expect weightlifting athletes to be in a big-size body figure. But we wanted to defy the odds, and we made it with athletes with a smaller-size body figure. Perhaps, the judges were impressed by the surprise.” He was also quick to attribute their success to coach Jonathan Patrick. Next, nine weightlifters from two schools in Beluru District have been shortlisted for the upcoming Sukma — a mark of success that was envisioned 20 years ago and is now closer to the target of making Beluru the future weightlifting powerhouse in Sarawak.

The district went on to produce Filicia Muyat and Sylvia Buda, Sukma weightlifting gold and bronze medallists, respectively. Consequently, Entri forwarded Filicia’s request to the state authorities to set up proper facilities at SMK Bakong and SMK Tinjar to develop future weightlifting champions. Upon the approval of the Sarawak Sports Council (MSNS), Filicia and Sylvia were soon appointed fulltime coaches based at the two schools. Out of the nine student weightlifters shortlisted for the upcoming Sukma, five – Bapi Muyat, Dixson Gansul, Sheerra Bunyau, Christopher Merayang and Riska Dunstan – are touted as medal prospects. Filicia attributed their success to the right ingredients in their physique and the natural ability of the talents in Baram. She beamed with pride when talking about her charges to The Borneo Post: “They are all first-timers but they have progressed very well in such a short period of development.”

Coach Filicia (front row, right) with Beluru weightlifters in a photo-call during the Sukma Baton Run.

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Lee Yong and Grace with their Best Athlete awards at the 2015 MSSM Inter-State Track and Field Championships.


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FROM PAGE E36 AT the 17th Sukma in Perlis two years ago, a 14-year-old girl caused a major sensation when she threw the hammer further than the winning distance in the 2013 SEA Games. Grace Wong was actually the latest of a long line of throwing champions from Sarikei. A year later, she and national teammate Jackie Wong, also from Sarikei, both won bronze medals at the Singapore’s SEA Games. For the record, Sarikei has produced the men’s champion hammer thrower in the last five editions of Sukma. In fact, they have been winning the event at the national inter-state MSSM track and field championships every year since 2008. All these throwers, male and female, are trained at Sarikei’s Centre of Excellence for Athletics (Throwing Events) set up by MNSN, under the charge of dedicated local coaches led by Ling Neng Thung and Liong Shuen Kiong. The ‘Amazing’ Grace, who will be competing in her second Sukma this year, has been a seasoned ‘veteran’ in Sarawak contingent at the annual inter-state MSSM championships. She has won at least one gold medal at the national schools meet every year since 2010 – back when she was still in Primary 5. Last year, she and teammate Quek Lee Yong were adjudged the respective ‘Best Girl and Boy Athletes’. Lee Yong is a junior world-class 400m hurdler who smashed the 34-year-old Sarawak state record last year when he was only 17. He finished fourth at the

Fatimah (front, fourth right), Sarawak officials and paralympians celebrating after Sarawak won the National Paralympics title for the 11th consecutive time.

Commonwealth Youth Games in September 2015. Two months later, he further improved his personal best time to 52.18secs, earning him a spot in the top six of the all-time national rankings for 400m hurdles. Lee Yong, who hails from Selangau in Sibu Division, is another veteran student athlete. In fact, the Sarawak contingent at last year’s MSSM meet comprised athletes from all corners of Sarawak. Some, like Lee Yong, have been able to continue making remarkable strides because they have chosen to transfer themselves from various towns in Sarawak to study in the state’s only sports school in Tabuan Jaya. The reputation of the state contingent at the annual MSSM meet through the years is legendary. Sarawak has won the overall national title for 19 of the last 23 years. The state school athletes will be eyeing their seventh consecutive overall championship trophy this year. Grace winning the hammer throw at the 2014 Sukma. Her distance of 55.82m propelled her into the elite bracket of throwers in Southeast Asia.

Fatimah (right) and Sarawak Special Olympic officials sending off Sharifah Saidatul and Nur Nadhirah to compete in the 2015 World Summer Games held in the US.

Jackie Wong broke the national record again in March 2016 with a throw of 64.5m.

Sports – Arena for all youths SPORTS should rightly be extended to youths with special needs and physical disabilities as well. This is also another arena of youth development in which Sarawak provides a shining example to other Malaysian states and the world. Forty-four community-based rehabilitation centres are spread out in the state where the special needs of these youths and children are attended to. Well-conceived plans are already in place to integrate these students into selected primary and secondary schools. Modules such as those in the popular ‘Healthy Athletes Programme’ appeal to children with special needs and their parents. In sports, the state has ensured that there are reward incentives equivalent to those available for ablebodied athletes. The relevant agencies conduct systematic training for managers, coaches and volunteers involved with

athletes with physical disabilities or special needs. They also develop specific programmes and strategies to discover and develop a continuous cycle of new athletes. On this, Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said: “We do not bank on previous athletes but also continue to work on discovering and training more new talents.” Immediately after the 18th Sukma, Sarawak will also host the 18th Malaysia Paralympics on Aug 2-9, 2016. The state paralympians will be going all out to defend the overall title that they have held for the past 22 years – Sarawak paralympians have been national champions since 1994. This year, they will be targeting their 12th consecutive national title. Last year, four Sarawak athletes also represented Malaysia to compete against the world’s best at the 2015 World Summer Games for Special Olympic Athletes, held in Los Angeles, California in the US.


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S P E C I A L S UP P L E M E N T Bario, a sub-district in northern Sarawak, is connected to the Internet via the setup of a ‘Very-Small-ApertureTerminal’ (VSAT) satellite unit (inset). Adenan hopes to see all areas in Sarawak, especially the remote pockets, to have access to the Internet soon.

Telecommunications: All about inclusion in the digital era SARAWAKIANS can expect better communication as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has pledged that the state would not be left out in the national agenda of new economy or digital era, with Putrajaya injecting millions of ringgit into implementing enhancement projects in the state going forward.

The premier, in speaking at the launch of the Malaysia Inklusif Negara Digital (Minda) – or the Malaysian National Digital Inclusion – at Kuching Waterfront on March 12, said the connectivity recovery plan in terms of cellular phones for Sarawak was ongoing, and that the government aimed to achieve an 85 per cent coverage. “RM290 million has been approved for this first phase and we will make sure that all areas, including longhouses, would enjoy such services.” He also pointed out that high-speed broadband services in urban areas would also be further enhanced up to 10 megabits per second (Mbps), while the target for rural areas would range between 4mbps and 10mbps. “This is what we will do in Sarawak. With high-speed broadband, we can have better voice and network data. It is to help e-learning, e-government, e-banking, e-commerce and so forth.” Najib assured Sarawakians that he would be in the state again in April to launch the second phase of the entire enhancement plan – cellular communication services of 4G and 3G. He said to implement this second phase, at least RM1.8 billion would be required and it (Phase II) would be implemented via public private initiatives (PPI). He said the government through the Malaysian

Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was also in the process of widening cellular and WiFi coverage in Sarawak. “MCMC will also be establishing 150 communication towers and 438 WiFi spots in collaboration with telecommunication corporations, namely Celcom, DiGi, Maxis, RedTone and Measat. Besides, we are also constructing an undersea cables, which is expected to be completed in three years, at a cost of RM850 million. “The new economy will be implemented for Sarawak as we want Sarawak to be on par with ‘Semenanjung’ (Peninsular Malaysia). And this will happen in the coming years.” Adenan to MCMC: Finish the job NAJIB’S announcement was no doubt good news for Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem, who had called on the federal government to assist Sarawak in terms of developing its Internet connectivity, particularly in the rural areas. “What I hope to see is that all the areas in Sarawak would get access to the Internet soon, especially in the rural areas in Sarawak as they need it (Internet) the most,” Adenan said at the same event. At another event on Jan 15, Adenan also appealed to MCMC to

pay due attention to the needs of rural Sarawakians, rather than just setting up infrastructure that did not function. “In some rural parts of Sarawak, some broadband network infrastructure or communication towers are there; but they offer no communication services to our rural folk. “What is the use of having the towers there that do not transmit data? They say there are some problems with our contractors and so forth. I want to ask MCMC to take particular attention to this matter. When you do it, you finish the job,” he was quoted as saying then. Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak gave his assurance that MCMC would ensure that all its telecommunication towers in the state would be functional by the end of March. “Eighty-five per cent of the towers are functioning. We hope that by end of this March, the people could use all of them,” he told reporters after paying a courtesy call on Adenan at the latter’s office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia on March 11. As at November last year, Sarawak had a total of 203 telecommunication towers, while another 85 towers had been proposed to be erected this year.

In February, MCMC issued a statement stating that a total of 19 telecommunication towers had been repaired around Sarawak in its efforts in increasing cellular services, especially in the rural areas. The 19 telecommunication towers mentioned are those in Nanga Ibau, Lepong Baleh, Pelajau, Nanga Mujung, Ulu Yong, Nanga Serian, Nanga Sut and Nanga Yong in Kapit; Kampung Binjai, Belimbing, Nanga Medamit and Ulu Pandaruan in Limbang; Uma Lahanan, Uma Baloi Liko and Bakun Road, Sungai Assap intersection in Belaga; Kampung Long Sebangang, Kuala Briwan and Ulu Merapok in Lawas; and Rumah Jarau in Song. At the same time, a total of 163 WiFi coverage areas under the ‘Community WiFi’ initiative (previously ‘Kampung Tanpa Wayar’) were also fully functional. They are 57 locations in Kuching, 26 in Serian, 20 in Sri Aman, 16 in Asajaya, 11 in Limbang, nine in Samarahan and Bintulu, five in Lundu, three in Lubok Antu and Simunjan, and one in Tatau. As such, upgrading works on increasing cellular services quality in Sarawak’s rural areas will continue and should reach completion according to schedule, despite the delays due to flooding and in certain cases, vandalism.

A telecommunication tower at Bukit Antu near Jalan Batu Lintang, Kuching. MCMC assures Sarawakians that all its telecommunication towers across the state would be functional by the end of March.

A student undertakes research with the help of the Internet – a task made possible and more convenient these days, thanks to broadband connectivity.

Broadband connectivity allows business owners, such as this businesswoman, stay connected with their clients and associates. It has been announced that high-speed broadband services in urban areas would also be further enhanced up to 10Mbps, while the target for rural areas would range between 4mbps and 10mbps.

The government’s connectivity recovery plan in terms of cellular phones for Sarawak is ongoing, with the aim of achieving an 85 per cent coverage.

Nowadays, mobile phones have become a necessity rather than a luxury for all Sarawakians, and Najib has pledged that Sarawak would not be left out in the national agenda of new economy or digital era.


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Leading Sarawak towards greater industrialisation There is still much work to be done towards industrialisation of the state’s economy but Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem had been quick to stamp his mark. In less than a year since he took office, Adenan led an investment trip to South Korea in Dec 2014 to firm up a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with HuChems Fine Chemical Corporation, a unit of South Korea’s Taekwang Industrial Group for the intention to set up an ammonia plant in Bintulu. Adenan, in his address before the MoU signing between the state government and Hu-Chems said the agreement marked a significant milestone in the state’s pursuit towards industrialisation as envisaged in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) programme. Hu-Chems has pledged to invest US$1 billion to construct an ammonia-based chemical manufacturing plant in Tg Kidurong, Bintulu. The plant, which will become the first to produce ammonium nitrate

in the country once completed in the next few years has the capacity to produce up to 600,000 tons of ammonia, 400,000 tonnes of nitric acid and 200,000 tons of ammonium nitrate a year. The Korean firm is also looking to increase the capacity production of ammonia to a million tons in the future and turn Bintulu into a hub for fine chemical industries in Southeast Asia. Apart from that, Hu-Chems has plans to build a second project for its downstream industries such as polyurethane, synthetic fibre and fertiliser with the materials produced in the Phase 1 plant. The second project will enable the vertical integration of Phase 1 produced materials in addition to reinforcing product competitiveness , making Bintulu the hub of fine chemical industries in Southeast Asia. Besides South Korea, Adenan is keen on witnessing more investment from China to invest in various sectors in Sarawak. During a courtesy call on Adenan early this year, Shanghai Taison Pulp-Making Group of China

Adenan (fifth left) and from left State Planning Unit director Datu Ismawi Ismuni, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani, Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin, Wong and representatives from China State Constuction Engineering Corporation Ltd, Blue Ocean Energy Co Ltd and Blue Energy Technology Co Ltd in a group photo after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state government and the companies last year. president Wu Mingxi disclosed that the group is interested to set up a pulp and paper factory in Bintulu

Stepping up through SETP Touted as the ‘catch up plan’ to bridge the development gap between rural and urban areas, the state government through the State Planning Unit (SPU) has formulated the Sarawak Socio-Economic Transformation Plan (SETP) to accelerate economic growth. SETP is a comprehensive, integrated and balanced plan which covers a span of 15-year to accelerate income growth and reduce income disparity by 2030. Adenan believed for Sarawak to achieve high income by 2030, the state’s economic growth is expected to grow at 6.5 per cent per annum. Thus, he said, “Under SETP, we will focus our efforts on creating high-income opportunities in new potential sources rather than diluting our attention on marginal improvements in old industries. “Private investments will be the main driver in the new sources of growth leveraging on the non-oil industries with the Government acting as facilitator to explore these potentials,” he stressed. Simultaneously, SETP’s first phase from 2016 until 2020 coincide with the development of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (11MP) and will be implemented. Adenan said: “Under the Eleventh Plan, efforts will be taken to transform the state economy from commodity-based to more value added economy. “This will be achieved through industrialisation capitalising on the availability of natural resources in the state. “Steps will be taken to ensure that the processing of our natural resources up to finished products is carried out in the state to meet the global supply chain,” he pointed out. Adenan noted the oil and gas (O&G) sector formed a major component of the state economy. However, he outlined that despite playing a big role for the economy, the O&G industry did not help to raise the income of Sarawakians. Therefore, he opined that there is a need to focus on the development of the non-oil industries to valueadd the economy. For instance, he said the state need to emphasise on the

“Under SETP, we will focus our efforts on creating high-income opportunities in new potential sources rather than diluting our attention on marginal improvements in old industries.” Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Chief Minister

development of the downstream industries for the O&G sector, especially in petrochemical industry. Adenan added the timber industries will be further developed to ensure more downstream activities are being carried out to produce high value-added finished products to meet global market. He noted steps will be taken to reduce the export of logs to strengthen the development of those high value-added downstream activities. Furthermore, he observed there is a huge demand for food in the global market especially for fruits, vegetables and livestock. For that, Adenan noted Sarawak, with sufficient arable land, has the potential to be one of the primary producers and suppliers of food in this region. “Under the Eleventh Plan, we have identified areas in the state that can be developed into food basket and agriculture production zones that will fit into the global supply chain. “We need to organise and mobilise our local farmers to collaborate with the right investors that bring along with them capital, technology and market.

“(Thus), we must transform our agriculture sector through greater private sector participation. “Efforts will also be made to develop more agriculture supporting infrastructure and to strengthen transportation and logistics facilities,” he revealed. Adenan said the state government is committed to building the required business infrastructure to support business and economic development. “We will intensify our efforts to develop growth enablers namely roads, airports, ports and utilities such as power, electricity, telecommunication and information, communication and technology (ICT) infrastructure. “These enablers are critical ingredients to facilitate business and investment activities in the State.” “At the same time, these enablers will help us bring in more development to the rural areas through better connectivity and accessibility between the rural areas and urban areas. “Accessibility to the State hinterland areas has to be developed as these areas have enormous economic potentials to be tapped,” he said.

Strengthening Sarawak’s financial position Adenan said the state government acknowledged that private investment is the key driver for successful and vibrant economic development initiatives. In the last two budget speeches which Adenan delivered at the State Legislative Assembly, he continued to maintain the fiscal position of the state would be in good health. With budget surpluses accumulated over the years and continuing to grow the state’s reserves to over RM20 billion, his administration’s prudence approach in managing the revenues and expenditures have received plaudits from the international community. Barely 10 days after Adenan tabled the state’s 2016 Budget last year, international credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) which evaluates the state’s financial standings, has affirmed its ‘A-’ long term issuer credit rating on Sarawak with a stable outlook. S&P in a statement said it has also

affirmed the ‘axAA’ long-term Asean regional scale rating on Sarawak. S&P noted the affirmed ratings on Sarawak reflected its view of the state’s very strong budgetary performance and exceptional liquidity. It observed that Sarawak’s budgetary performance was very strong with forecasts that the state’s operating surpluses will average around 62 per cent of its annual operating revenue from 2013-2017. S&P, nonetheless opined Sarawak’s satisfactory financial management and average budgetary flexibility were neutral to the ratings. S&P explained that due to Sarawak’s political and economic importance, the state has a supportive relationship with the federal government. “Sarawak has a strategic position within the federation, accounting for half of the country’s crude oil output and being the sole provider of liquefied natural gas. “This factor underlines the state’s importance to the federal government

and anchors our expectations that Sarawak can withstand political changes at the federal level,” it said. S&P said it assessed the financial management of Sarawak as satisfactory, supported by the state government’s political and managerial strengths. Earlier on in October 2015, another international rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service had assigned its A3 rating for Sarawak with a stable outlook and believed the state’s economy is expected to remain resilient against the impact of falling commodity prices in the near-term. Nonetheless, it cautioned that a prolonged period of low oil prices could erode the state’s financial strength. In a statement, Moody’s said Sarawak’s resilience is based on its history of conservative budget planning, strong liquidity, high degree of budgetary flexibility and the economic benefits originating from the weakness in the ringgit.

with an investment amounting to US$4 billion. Wu believed that the

company’s decision to establish a manufacturing plant in Sarawak were due to the readily available

natural resources and the investment-friendly environment and political stability. Concurring with Adenan, Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh said the state hoped for more investors from China to invest in Sarawak. He disclosed during an event last year that China was Sarawak’s fourth largest trade partner in 2014 with total trade amounted to RM11.8 billion and contributed approximately eight per cent to the state’s total trade. “We believe given the vast opportunities in Sarawak, China can play on even more active role in the development of our state economy,” he said. Thus, as a measure to facilitate private investments into Sarawak, the state government has made a move to reduce the electricity tariffs for commercial and industrial consumers. Going forward, Adenan said for industrialisation to take place, the state government will encourage the establishment of more export oriented industries in view of the small domestic market.

Corporate leaders view on Adenan Adenan has not just won the hearts of the public, but he has also won praises from some of the corporate leaders in Sarawak.

When asked to describe Adenan, the policies he has introduced for one, the reduction of commercial power tariff and the hope for

the next state government, they are optimistic that the political landscape will remain supportive for businesses and investment.

“He is pro-business and keen to protect local entrepreneurs.His policies basically emphasize on economic growth via SCORE and strongly promoting participation of Sarawak-based companies and home-grown entrepreneurs. “For example, with the reduced tariff, it will help local manufacturers in lowering their overall production cost and hence, be more competitive in the market. I am expecting more development funds to be allocated for infrastructure development, and thus, help to spur economic growth for all sectors, particularly constructions and material supplies,” he said. Aaron Toh, Sarawak Cable Bhd’s chief executive officer

“Our Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem) is a very simple but wise, strict but kind man. He is not given to many airs and is a deep thinker. This was evident even before he became our chief minister.I am of the firm opinion that the policy changes enacted by our Yang Amat Berhormat Chief Minister is a move in the right direction. “Time changes everything and I believe that he is going to put his personal stamp on his way of doing business. His focus on the welfare of Sarawakians is supremely evident in his policies. When asked on the next state government, he expressed, “Having lived offshore for many years, I find our previous government overall scores high marks with me. The present government has continue to score high marks in two areas, environment and focus on the future well-being and harmony of Sarawakians in Sarawak. Dato Steve Ng, Plaza Merdeka Holdings Sdn Bhd’s managing director

“Sarawak has developed greatly in recent years under the direction of strong leaders who have had a clear vision about what needs to be done and also the ability to realise these visions. “We see this continuing with our current Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem). We see these as positive initiatives to support the state’s economic development and to respond to the current challenging global business environment. “We hope that the next state government will continue to pursue its support for SCORE and for economic development so that the state is able to achieve its target of being a developed state by 2030. Datuk Richard Curtis, Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd’s group managing director

“My hope for the next state government will be that we would give Adenan a stronger mandate to carry out the unfinished tasks such as the increase in oil royalties, restoring our autonomous rights and getting more power for Sarawak from Federal Government through the devolution. “Remove as much possible unfair policies that are based on race alone and implement policies that are based on the people’s needs. With more autonomous rights and devolution, Sarawak can expect less cost of doing business and bureaucratic procedures reduced.” Sim Kian Cheok, Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association Kuching branch advisor


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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Adding value to Sarawak’s industries SARAWAK’S industrial development has grown by leaps and bounds under the guidance of the Ministry of Industrial Development and with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem at the helm. As part of the 11th Malaysian Plan (11MP) and Adenan’s vision of developing rural areas of Sarawak to bridge the economic gap and reduce wealth disparity between urban and rural areas, more industrial estates as well as new infrastructures are expected to be established in rural towns. As chairman of Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda), the agency tasked with overseeing and managing Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), Adenan had said in his chairman’s message of SCORE, “SCORE is a key component of our overarching goal to turn the State of Sarawak into a developed economy and a high income State by 2030. “SCORE will stimulate economic initiatives in rural as well as urban areas, which will improve the living standards of every Sarawakian, no matter where he or she lives in the state. “Sustainable rural development is vital to the economic development of the state.” To accelerate the developments of rural regions, new industrial estates will be developed in every rural or smaller towns throughout the state under the 11MP to facilitate the growth of SMEs in rural regions, Adenan said in a recent news report. Based on the Sarawak Government’s official website, there are currently four main agencies developing industrial zones and estates throughout Sarawak which are the Ministry of Industrial Development (MID), Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) and the Bintulu Development Authority (BDA). There are also 20 industrial estates that have already been developed or

are under planning. According to Adenan, the initiative is in addition to the RM3 billion allocation set aside by the government to develop more than 7,200 hectares of industrial land throughout Sarawak, including the 706 acres in Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu, in an effort to encourage and support the growth of SMEs. “The government acknowledges the importance of SMEs as the backbone of economic development and in uplifting the livelihood of the communities, especially in the rural regions. “Based on the 2011 Economic Census, the SMEs which are mainly in the services and manufacturing sectors make up 98 per cent of the total establishments and have a significant contribution to the state and national economy,” he said. The SCORE-card so far Under SCORE, Samalaju Industrial Park has already attracted 15 companies with total investments exceeding RM25 billion and investments from large international firms and these are expected to provide opportunities for SMEs on

their own or in collaborative clusters to supply goods and services to them. Second Minister of Resource Planning Environment and Industrial Development Minister, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, had also recently highlighted that the state government is looking to develop new industrial estates in at least six rural towns under 11MP, to facilitate the growth of SMEs. Among the areas identified were Lundu, Betong, Sri Aman, Sebuyau, Marudi and Bau. He said the government acknowledged the importance of SMEs as the backbone of economic development and uplifting the livelihood of the communities and as such, had set aside 706 acres of land within Samalaju Industrial Park for SMEs. Assistant Minister of Industrial Development (Investment and Promotion) Datuk Julaihi Narawi highlighted last year that the setup of several industrial estates in smaller towns across the state would further boost rural SMEs, especially those engaged in food and food-based industries, knowing that the raw materials could be easily sourced in

When we (government) talk about transforming the rural areas, it is not only about bringing physical development such as roads, but also to increase the income of the people there. This is why we (government) are serious in setting up industrial estates (across rural towns) to provide business platforms for the people. Datuk Julaihi Narawi, Assistant Minister of Industrial Development (Investment and Promotion)

those areas. Julaihi stressed that the move is hoped to not only boost these SMEs, mainly those running downstream food-based processing and manufacturing, but also to increase the income of the rural people which is in line with the government’s mission to transform and develop the rural areas. “When we (government) talk about transforming the rural areas, it is not only about bringing physical development such as roads, but also to increase the income of the people there. “This is why we (government) are serious in setting up industrial estates (across rural towns) to provide business platforms for the people,” he stressed.

Call for cleaner energy SCORE is also premised on building and providing affordable as well as abundant clean, renewable energy such as hydropower to attract energy-intensive industries into new growth nodes in the state. Hydropower, a clean and cheap source of energy, according to Chief Minister Adenan, been proven as a a sustainable engine of growth as demonstrated in developed nations such as Norway, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and other countries. The Report (Sarawak) 2015, by OBG, was of the same opinion, stating that although costly to build, dams offer cleaner energy and a solid commercial return as running costs are considered low and they have a long lifespan. SEB’s website revealed that the Sarawak Government had identified in 1979, a total of 155 potential hydropower sites, of which 51 were short-listed to explore the potential of renewable hydropower energy to generate up to 20,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity with a total energy output of 87,000 gigawatts per hour (GWh) per year. Not long after, Sarawak ventured into the hydropower industry with the 94-MW Batang Ai hydroelectric plant (HEP), SEB’s first milestone project over 30 years ago in its journey towards renewable energy in the state. At an event commemorating Batang Ai HEP’s 30th anniversary in August 2015, Sjotveit said that Batang Ai was testament of Sarawak’s ability to construct, implement and operate hydroelectric power plants “The successful construction, implementation and operation of Batang Ai HEP gave Sarawakians valuable knowledge and experience in designing, building and operating hydroelectric power plants. “Although three decades would pass before Sarawak Energy embarked on our next hydropower project in Murum, it certainly marked the beginning of a significant change on how Sarawak would be powered. “Batang Ai showed how we could harness the abundant potential of Sarawak’s rivers to produce clean, reliable and sustainable energy and in the process reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, he said. In his speech, Sjotveit higlighted that not only did the hydroelectric plant increase the state’s generation capacity by delivering an additional

108 MW of power to Kuching, it also brought about economic opportunities to the people in Batang Ai and its surrounding areas. Apart from Batang Ai HEP, the state has to date, also seen the development and completion of two other hydroelectric projects: the Bakun dam and Murum dam. The Bakun HEP, the largest hydropower plant in Malaysia with an installed capacity of 2,400 MW, is located on the Balui River in the Upper Rajang River basin, 37 kilometres upstream from Belaga town. According to Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd’s (Sarawak Hidro) website, Bakun’s physical infrastructures were completed in 2010 and it began commercial generation of electricity in 2011. In the report, OBG said Bakun is considered to be the largest dam in Asia, outside of China, and constitutes South-east Asia’s largest civil engineering project to date. In an interview with OBG, Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkifle Osman revealed that the power purchase agreement with SESCO was inked in June 2011, and they have been transmitting electricity since August of the same year. “The power is transmitted all over Sarawak via the grid, including to areas within SCORE, which has managed to secure 19 approved projects with a total estimated investment of RM30.4 billion (US$9.25 billion). “With the bulk of such investments

being put towards manufacturing facilities for energy-intensive industries such as aluminium and manganese smelters, we believe the project’s contribution towards supplying reliable, green and cheap energy has made a direct impact upon investors’ confidence in that area. “SCORE will certainly continue to grow in size, and we welcome the challenge of ensuring that SCORE gets all of the energy it needs in the coming years, he said to the Oxford Business Group. In November 2015, Osman told The Borneo Post that the Bakun dam would be able to supply about 1,700 MW of HEP to the state’s energy needs by 2016 from the then 1,000 MW to 1,100 MW. As for the Murum dam, it is the second HEP developed by SEB which the group underlined, “marked the start of an ambitious expansion and development programme of hydroelectric generation in the state to support the SCORE agenda.” Located on the uppermost part of the Rajang River Basin, Torstein revealed last year that the last of the four turbines at the plant officially started commercial operation in June. With the 944-MW Murum Dam now fully operational, the additional power will be added to the mix, bringing the total installed capacity of hydropower to around 3,500 MW. The new hydropower station will also increase the state’s ratio of clean,

Those involved in small and medium industries (SMIs) in the state are also not left out of the SCORE’s race to achieving high-income development across the state as the state government has assured assistance for this sector. In a recent report, Julaihi said the sector has now become a significant contributor in the country’s economic growth. “The state government has invested some RM3 billion to develop over 7,200 hectares of industrial land in major hubs such as Kuching, Samarahan, Bintulu, Miri, Sarikei and Tanjung Manis. The government also plans to develop more industrial estates across the state to support local investors.

“All these efforts prove that the government is committed in its provision of support to SMIs,” he said. He added to further help them, the state government had also provided industrial lots with full-fledged infrastructure to make it easier for them to set up factories. “Other aid such as financing and consultation would be provided by the government to help local SMIs expand their operations in domestic and international markets. However, these initiatives will present no benefits if local manufacturers do not fully utilise them. “For the SMIs here, now is the time to accept the challenge and sign up for the programmes offered by the government,” Julaihi said.

Meeting energy demands

renewable and sustainable energy mix. Sjotveit disclosed last month that 70 per cent of the state’s current energy mix is renewable, affordable and abundant hydropower, progressing towards a balanced generation mix of 60 per cent hydro, 20 per cent coal and 20 per cent gas to avoid over-reliance on a single source. Meanwhile, according to SEB, a further 10 hydropower projects are at various stages of feasibility or pre-engineering which could generate a collective output of 30 terawatt hours of additional energy. To date, the government is now focusing on building the Baleh dam, a project well received by the people in Baleh, Kapit. Meanwhile, RECODA estimates the central corridor region contains 20,000 MW of hydropower potential, 1.47 million tonnes of coal reserves and 50.12 trillion scf of natural gas. “A large portion of the available energy mix is concentrated near the district of Bintulu, and most early-stage energy-intensive SCORE investments are taking place in the 8,000-hectare Samalaju Industrial Park (SIP), located 60 km north of Bintulu town,” it said. Overall, with the right support, SCORE’s industrial and hydropower development are set to boost Sarawak’s growth trajectory and economic contribution to the nation.

As Sarawak undergoes tremendous industrial and infrastructural growth throughout the state, demand for energy has increased almost 100 per cent in the last five years. Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) had recently revealed that demand from industrial, commercial and residential customers has increased from 1,182 MW in 2011 to 2,284 MW in 2015, an increase of 92 per cent. The group also said in its website that its projections indicate that by the middle of the next decade, residential, retail and commercial customers in Sarawak will require 2,000 MW, while SCORE customers will consume at least 6,000 MW. This demand for power in the state will total to about 8,000 MW by 2030. “Demand from the industries already present within SCORE will undoubtedly increase, but we are also driving more demand due to the promotion of SCORE to new customers and industries. “The majority of power that is currently being produced is hydropower, hence it is sustainable and priced at a globally competitive bulk power pricing level, which is comparatively low in the Asean region,” SEB’s group chief executive

officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit told Oxford Business Group in its The Report (Sarawak) 2015. At the World Hydropower Congress (WHC) 2015 plenary session entitled ‘Assessing Demand and Opportunities: ASIA’ held in Beijing, China, last year, Awang Tengah had highlighted that the development of the hydropower sector provides the foundation for Sarawak’s strategy to reach a high income economy by 2020 through the establishment of SCORE. This, he pointed out, would in turn trigger growth and job opportunities for Sarawak, particularly for those in the remote interior living near hydropower sites. “The essence of SCORE is to industrialise the state by leveraging on Sarawak’s competitive advantage in bulk hydropower. “In doing so, we are able to attract investors mainly from energy intensive industries – thereby promoting growth, jobs and development for Sarawak, including those in the interior and indigenous people living near the hydropower sites,” he said.

The essence of SCORE is to industrialise the state by leveraging on Sarawak’s competitive advantage in bulk hydropower. In doing so, we are able to attract investors mainly from energy intensive industries – thereby promoting growth, jobs and development for Sarawak, including those in the interior and indigenous people living near the hydropower sites. Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Second Minister of Resource Planning Environment and Industrial Development Minister


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Aligning jobs with human capital in Sarawak KUCHING: With an increasing graduate count, Sarawak seems to have proven itself that not only does it have natural resources to offer but also human capital as well.

However, does the opportunities provided match the amount of graduates produced by local institutions? With the increasingly worrying state of the global economy, focus now should be on creating more jobs in the tertiary and quaternary sectors as these sectors rely more on skill and services rather than physical elements. SarawakJobs.com in its recent report titled ‘Salary Survey Report 2015/2016’ noted that in Sarawak, the top 10 sectors that graduates look at are engineering, finance and business, education, selfemployment, travel tourism, design, computing, Government and finally Sales. “In reference to the list, Engineering takes first place, with Accounting/Finance/Banking Sectors coming in at second and Business and Professional services in third position. “If you look closer by examining the average salary that one could earn, it makes Engineering even more attractive as it has one of the highest average pay. “Apart from having a higher salary than most other sectors, Engineering is no doubt a crucial profession and an extremely broad one which encompass a range of specialised elds of engineering that is essential to overall economic growth and technology advancement. “Based on the average salaries gathered from employees surveyed, fresh graduates seeking jobs in this sector can expect salaries ranging from RM 2,191 to RM 3,115.” An interesting point to note is that jobs in the accounting, finance and banking sectors remain a favourite choice among fresh graduates, being in high demand at all times. In view of the numbers of job vacancies in SarawakJobs.com, job opportunities in this sector grow steadily across Sarawak. Fresh graduates seeking jobs in this sector can expect to get an average salary ranging from RM 1,856 to RM 2,685.

Matching demand with supply

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office Datuk Len Talif Salleh had said that this was due to a mismatch between industry requirements and the graduates’ qualifications. “To tackle this issue, Cuepacs Sarawak urges the government to

(SOURCE: SarawakJobs.com)

(SOURCE: SarawakJobs.com)

(SOURCE: SarawakJobs.com)

In reference to the list, Engineering takes first place, with Accounting/Finance/Banking Sectors coming in at second and Business and Professional services in third position. SarawakJob.com

consider providing employment opportunities to graduates from institutions of higher learning. “Otherwise, this will definitely disappoint the graduates, who are hoping that the government will provide employment for them. “Their parents’ hopes, too, would be dashed after having sent their children for higher education and yet cannot assist in improving the welfare of their families as they are unable to get employment.” Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Service (Cuepacs) Sarawak wants the government to consider opening up job opportunities for graduates yet to be employed. Voicing concern over the number of graduates still seeking employment, state Cuepacs president Ahmad Malie said getting them employed could prevent undesired social ills from cropping up. Ahmad was commenting on the media report that unemployment among graduates was substantial and of concern to the state. It was reported that based on data from the Statistics Department and Jobs Malaysia there were about 15,000 to 20,000 unemployed graduates in the state, and the

number of graduates applying for jobs in the state Civil Service was 40,834. However, the state is trying to address this issue by intensifying efforts to bring down the unemployment rate through 1Malaysia Training Scheme (Skim Latihan 1Malaysia or SL1M). Organised by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, SL1M is an enhancement programme to improve employability and marketability of graduates. Workforce Department Unit director Dr Abdul Rahman Deen said the scheme would help job seekers, including the state’s 15,000 to 20,000 unemployed graduates. The unit will be holding statelevel SL1M 2016 that feature open interviews at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) on March 26 and 27. “The state is concerned about the unemployment issue and supportive of programmes to help graduates find jobs. The state government is working with 1Malaysia Training Scheme (SL1M) to help them,” Abdul Rahman said at press conference. He said participants of company attachment programmes were likely to be absorbed by the companies, so the programme is a golden opportunity for prospective employers and potential employees to link up. “Companies should take advantage of this programme as Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem wants to ensure graduates are given the opportunity to take up jobs that befit their level of education,” he said. “This programme assists graduates (degree, masters and PhD holders) to get jobs and improve their livelihood especially those from lower income families and from rural areas,” said Norashikin Datuk Ismail who heads the SL1M secretariat at the press conference. Job placements within SCORE

The state is placing a lot of

emphasis on technical education to meet the demand required by this field especially for SCORE. “We are targeting a human capital of 600,000 by year 2030 to help develop SCORE,” said Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Department (Technical Education Promotion) Datu Len Talif Salleh. He added that the government wants to create as many graduates as possible in the field of science, engineering, technology and so on, and with Sarawak short on funding to achieve its mission by 2020, the state can only realistically expect to meet the target by 2030. “We will develop SCORE with the help of the 115 skill-training institutions like Polytechnic schools, iCATS, UTM, SPACE, Unimas, UiTM, and so on.” Adding to this, Adenan noted during the Sarawak Career and Training Fair that the federal government’s ‘very bad policies’ have resulted in a high number of unemployable graduates due to their qualification not meeting those required by the job market. “These policies are not thought of properly and the results can be disastrous”, noted the chief minister. “Now we are landed with thousands of unemployed graduates.” Housing minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg added to this sentiment that students should be encouraged from a young age to take up subjects which will improve their prospects of getting a job later. According to a recently released statistics, there were at least 15,000 unemployed graduates in Sarawak many of whom had degrees in humanities and social sciences. Abang Johari said parents and teachers should inculcate an interest among young school students in subjects which would meet the requirements of the job market. For instance, he said, teachers could provide a fun and conducive learning environment for subjects like Mathematics. “We need to change the mindset among students that Mathematics is difficult even before they start learning it,” he added. Earlier this week it was reported that some 15,000 to 20,000 graduates in the state were unemployed, according to data from the Statistics Department and Jobs Malaysia. Higher education = higher job pay?

The report further noted that fresh graduates holding a higher education makes more money on the average than those with a lower degree. This, however, does not negate the gap between expected salary and actual salary earned. “From the data collected, we found that 75.7 per cent of the Postgraduate Degree students surveyed expect to earn no more than RM3,000 monthly upon graduation,” it said, adding that this was the opinion of six out of every eight Postgraduate Degree students surveyed. Half of them outlined their desired salary amount ranges between RM2,001 to RM2,500, making this the most desired salary range. “On the other hand, 24.3 per cent of Postgraduate Degree students surveyed expect no less than RM3,001 for a start,” it added.

WORD FROM THE GROUND Fresh graduates and new entrants to Sarawak’s work force feel the grind of finding job opportunities here,

Nicholas Jeffrey, an interactive multimedia computing graduate is now currently working in sales due to the lack of opportunities in his chosen field. However, he does note that there has been some slight improvements. “Tan Sri Adenan is doing the right thing to acknowledge the UCE/LCE certificate as well as enforcing the use of English. This would highly improve the viability of our people.” Another interviewee who only wanted to go by Ong, expressed similar notions stating that the increase in job opportunities are ‘not very significant’. However, the multimedia degree holder said, “With local universities such as Unimas accepting private Chinese highschool graduates, there would be less brain drain from the state as they now have the opportunity to work in Sarawak rather than being forced to go back to China or Taiwan.” Meanwhile, Wong, a business degree holder however is more critical and noted that there is more room to improve if the state is serious about hitting its target of a high income nation. “In terms of getting the job done, I think Adenan is doing great. He has constantly highlighted the plight of Sarawakians and has echoed many sentiments of the people as well. “However, the few areas that

“In contrast to the group of Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree students, we noticed that the Postgraduate Degree students are more pragmatic in terms of their starting salary expectations since the difference between the average desired starting salary amount (RM 2,854) is just 33 per cent higher than the average starting salary (RM2,145).” To assert this point, 55.4 per cent agree that the actual salary does fall within their expected salary range. The importance of salary can not be disputed as 75 per cent

(SOURCE: SarawakJobs.com)

(SOURCE: SarawakJobs.com)

need improvement in the state is the range and availability of jobs especially for the newer graduates as Sarawak is still suffering a large brain drain due to the lack of competitive edge when compared to other states such as KL or Selangor.” Wong explained that despite the state government’s emphasis on the numerous jobs that are available, many of them are on either the primary or secondary sectors. “Imagine studying international trade and business law only to come out to work as a sales representative or even as a part timer as openings that require your skills are not available locally. “Many Sarawakians would love to stay in the state as a majority of us a extremely proud to be Sarawakians but due to the lack of choice, low wages, limited growth prospects and other mitigating factors, we are forced to move out,” he noted. He also expressed a concern about the wage disparity between the Bornean states and the peninsular. “Despite the argument that the cost of living in Sarawak is lower, items sold here are usually higher in cost due to logistics. “I also believe that where you work should not dictate the level of wage as I still firmly believe that wages should be based on overall skill needed to get the work done. If working the same position but I was offered more money elsewhere, there is no choice but to move.” of graduates interviewed by SarawakJobs.com said they will quit their job for a better pay that is offered elsewhere. Only minority 25 per cent are either unsure or will not leave their job just because of a higher pay. “Let’s face it, Money talks. No matter how much one may love his/her role, coworkers, work environment, benets and conditions of their current employment, when opportunity knocks, especially with money as one of the key factors, people may choose to leave their comfort zone,” it said.


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Sunday, May 1, 2016

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The ferry that crosses Batang Rambungan.

The road that cuts across Sampadi, which not many people know about.

A row of quaint shoplots in Sematan town — built more than a century ago.

MANY may not know that Lundu and Kuching are actually linked by more ways than one. Generally people would travel between the two via Bau — about 100km from Lundu. As the Bau-Lundu Road has been properly maintained and where the scenery along the journey is green and enchanting, it has never been an issue. However, there is one stretch that not many people know about, which cuts through Sampadi and links with the Samariang area near Petra Jaya. It snakes across plantations, farms and secondary forests, while the horizon is lined with mountains with obscure names — possibly none at all. The road has very few travellers, which makes cruising along it is a pleasant and relaxing ride. Unbeknownst to many, the road recently underwent upgrading — from a bumpy and dusty plantation road to one that is smooth and decent. The only difference between this road and the Bau-Lundu one perhaps is the fact that travellers have to cross seven rivers along the former — all bridged except one, which happens to be the largest among the seven: Batang Rambungan. Two ferries are available to take travellers on board their vehicles across both sides of the river. Taking a ferry-ride can sometimes become highly-romanticised — the delicate manoeuvring of the vehicles on board the floating machinery, the slow-paced wade across the river that is accompanied by the churning of the engine, and the orderly disembarkment upon reaching the other side. However for many Sampadi folk, such as 69-year-old Rajus Brahim of Kampung Sampadi Slenggok,

We do hope a bridge would be constructed across Batang Rambungan to complete the missing link.

Of routes, bridges and tourism spots Rajus Brahim, Kpg Sampadi Slenggok resident

The town of Lundu — the financial, administrative and commercial centre of Tanjung Datu state constituency. it would be more ‘romantic for them if they did not have to solely depend on the ferry service. “We do hope a bridge would be constructed across Batang Rambungan to complete the missing link,” says Rajus, a former private sector employee. With such bridge, the journey between Lundu and Kuching could be shortened by at least 20 minutes. Currently a one-way trip takes about an hour and 20 minutes. Rujus also hopes to see the establishment of more commercial centres and shophouses slated for the Bumiputeras in Lundu — the financial, administrative and commercial centre of Tanjung Datu state constituency. However, Sampadi folk like Rujus, Kapitan Chen Khee Fui and Jee Fah Shin are generally enthusiastic about the development that has taken place and are going to take place in areas within the Tanjung Datu constituency. “We are very happy with the

development here — we have everything, and we know that there will be more to come,” says Chee, adding that he is particularly pleased with the plan of turning Lundu District into an education hub where the younger generation would not need to leave town to pursue higher studies. He even observes that a site has been identified towards this objective. Still, Chee wishes for one more thing to really complete the general development of Lundu and its surrounding vicinity — for the wooden bridge across Sungai Limau to be upgraded into one with solid metal base. This bridge is among the six along the Sampadi route, as mentioned earlier. “It is our wish that the (Sungai Limau) bridge could be upgraded into a metal one.” Meanwhile Jee, who is also secretary of Sampadi Tai Pak Kung Temple Association, wishes for the temple to be connected to the

power grid. “Electricity was brought to Kampung Sampadi Cina, near Kampung Sampadi, years ago. We don’t quite understand why, but four Bumiputera households and the temple remain not connected (to the grid),” he says, adding that the temple is about 100 years old and currently, it is still running on generators. “We have tried many times to talk with the authorities (about the situation). Honestly, I still don’t understand why we (the temple) together with the four Bumiputera household are still not connected to the grid,” says Jee. Development in totality Across all state constituencies under the Santubong parliamentary area (Tanjung Datu, Pantai Damai and Demak Laut), there is one consistent, recurring theme — tourism. It is learned that a blueprint to develop Lundu into a new satellite

town is now in the pipeline. “The masterplan will be consistent with the state government’s plan to turn the whole coastal area from Muara Tebas to Tanjung Datu as a tourism belt,” Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is also Santubong MP, disclosed recently. He said several consortiums had been engaged to come up with their proposed plans, of which the best would be selected by the state government to be implemented under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP). “It (masterplan) will be private sector-driven, but the government will do the necessary planning and provide the necessary infrastructure. Also, we do not want the private sector to ask too many things from us — they would have to come up with the money,” stressed Wan Junaidi, indicating that the proposed new township would not be far from Lundu town. “The people will know that we are actually doing something for Lundu and once they have, it would be easier to convince them to participate in the whole process of development there.” On Tanjung Datu, Wan Junaidi said the Lundu-Sematan area would be opened up for major developments based on eco-tourism, pointing out that the Pan-Borneo Highway would stretch from Tanjung Datu on the southern tip of Sematan, right up to

Sabah. “The mammoth project will open up more land, which will benefit the local people. On top of that, tourists will be able to visit Tanjung Datu National Park as well as the Simunsam Wildlife Sanctuary via road in the near future. At the moment, these two tourism sites could only be reached via boat. “Now that the project has started, it would also be easier to attract businessmen to build more chalets, hotels and resorts in Sematan and Lundu, which have beautiful beaches for picnic, fishing and snorkelling. The whole area will be well patronised as there are many natural attractions there, such as the turtle sanctuary in Talang-Talang Islands and dolphin sightseeing. This area is also famous for its Rafflesia flowers on Mount Gading, drawing many visitors annually.” Wan Junaidi said in short, both Sematan and Lundu — together with the whole costal area from Tanjung Datu to Muara Tebas — would one day become a major tourism belt of which its full potential must be fully tapped. Joy for the locals The approval for the waterfront projects in Lundu and Sematan, as well as the embankment projects in Kampung Santubong and Kampung Buntal is music to Au Chen Kiong’s ears. The shopkeeper in Sematan, who is in charge of the business set up by his father in the 1950s, notices throngs of tourists coming to his town every weekend and every time there is a festival. “Sematan is just a nice place — one that I choose to spend my retirement years,” says Au, whose shop faces the South China Sea.

Progress in semi-urban constituencies THE constituencies of Satok, Samariang and Tupong can be considered semi-urban as they comprise both well-developed and developing areas — a merge of bustling mixed hubs with quaint villages, the population of which consisting mostly Malays.

As far as overall development is concerned, it appears that most of the ‘needs and wants’ of the people have been delivered. Satok has flourished over the years, being the recipient of various projects that have transformed this constituency into a bustling sub-urban area. One of the most recent developments is focusing on the facelift of Sungai Sarawak banks through a series beautification projects such as the construction of a waterfall in front of the iconic Fort Margherita and the construction of a 1km walkway/waterfront stretching from Kampung Tanjung to Kampung Sungai Bedil, scheduled for completion by 2018. The latter is under the prerogative of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, regarded as being a part

of national projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP). It is slated to complement the ongoing Darul Hana Urban Redevelopment, and also Kuching as a whole, upon completion. Moreover Satok received allocations totalling RM4.2 million for three projects in July 2015 — all of which slated towards improving infrastructure and facilities across the constituency. The first project featured the installation of LED lights near Jalan Satok, costing RM1.2 million, while the second went for the installation of traffic lights, each costing RM500,000, to ease the congestion at the two intersections there — namely those at Jalan Datuk Ajibah Abol-Jalan Haji Mataim, and Jalan Haji Mataim-Jalan Muhibbah. The remainder of the allocation was set aside for the construction of a bridge connecting Kampung Kudei Lama with Kampung Kudei Baru, and another at the rivermouth of Sungai Bintangor to link Kampung Masjid to Kampung Madrasah — each structure costing around RM1 million. Apart from that, construction

is underway for a police kiosk near Sungai Bintangor to improve surveillance and security in the area. The same thing can also be said about Tupong and Samariang, with the former currently undergoing a number of projects slated for addressing traffic woes there. The works include those on the road from Emart Matang stretching up to Sungai Maong. For Samariang, the focus seems to be on managing floods, via the setup of a taskforce committee that would be readily mobilised every time it (flooding) occurs. The government has also issued land titles under Section 18 of State land Code for a number of villages in these two constituencies — an ongoing exercise that have been implemented in stages since 2011. As at August 2015, 666 lots received the land titles — 96 lots in Kampung Pinang Jawa in Tupong, and 570 lots across five villages in Samariang. This figure was out of the total 25,876 land titles issued under the Section for residential areas in Kuching as at the same timeline.

The bustling Medan Niaga Satok — a landmark that is synonymous with the constituency’s name.

The Kubah Ria Complex that is next to Medan Niaga Satok.


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Kota Samarahan envisions city status by 2030 AT present, the state’s education hub Kota Samarahan is the main administrative nerve for the state constituencies of Muara Tuang, Asajaya and the newly-created Stakan. As a town, it is a bustling centre with booming commercial and residential developments — the latest being Bandar Riyal, formerly known as Kampung Merdang. Soon, the townsfolk will see Aiman Square — a commercial square set to house 120 shops,

a sprawling food court and two supermarkets. Another major development is the HSL Centre — an all-inclusive high-end residential development that comes complete with malls and a host of public facilities. The popular landmarks in and around Kota Samarahan are Summermall, Samarahan Heart Centre, Wisma Salcra, the National Public Administration Institute (Intan) Complex, Samarahan Civic Centre and the army base — known

Summermall — the shopping and lifestyle emporium in Kota Samarahan.

to many as Muara Tuang Camp. Further into the town are the state and federal government offices, as well as the police and fire stations, and government clinic. The town is perhaps most known as the home to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), the local campus of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and the Samarahan Industrial Training Institute (ILP). The river, Batang Samarahan, will soon have a bridge across it — a RM95-million project that includes a pedestrian lane, scheduled for completion by 2018. At present, there is a ferry service operating there. With all these facilities having been put in place, Kota Samarahan may one day rival Kuching in terms of aesthetic and physical development. Even now, it is regarded as a satellite town for those from Kuching, Serian, Sebuyau and Padawan — thanks to the existence of the good road network. It would not be too far-fetched to say that Kota Samarahan is the next big thing after Kuching, Sibu and Miri. For Samarahan Walikota Datuk Peter Minos, this is something to look forward to — not ruling the possibility that the town could be

elevated to a city status by 2030, if the current growth of development and population is anything to go by. “We see malls and shophouses mushrooming as the population rises. Who knows by 2030, Kota Samarahan could become a city,” he said, pointing out that the whole of Samarahan currently has a population of over 170,000 and is increasing at the rate of six per cent every year — making it the fastestgrowing town in Sarawak. “By 2030, Samarahan may have a population of over 300,000. “The existence of Unimas, UiTM and ILP affirms Kota Samarahan’s status as the education hub of Sarawak. The setup of these two universities was followed by the upgrading and development of more government offices, housing estates and commercial centres — big and small. “There are now 82 residential estates and 20 more (are) coming up,” says Minos. The people, however, have some wishes too, he adds. “Perhaps, a full-fledged hospital for the Samarahan folk, as well as an improved road system to address the current traffic jams.”

Visitors going to Unimas would pass this landmark arch at the main entrance.

Stakan: Benefitting from spillover effect THE rationale behind the creation of Stakan is for the area to be better serviced by a new representative, since Kota Samarahan is facing rapid growth, both in terms of population and physical development. The new predominantly-Bumiputera constituency — carved out of Muara Tuang and a bit of Kota Sentosa (which is within Stampin parliamentary constituency) — covers the areas from Kampung Merdang up to Stakan in Kota Samarahan, and also those along Mile 12 of Jalan Kuching-Serian. It will have five proposed polling stations to accommodate its electorate of over 12,700: Stakan with 6,700 voters, Sidanu (2,512), Merdang (1,688 voters), Quop (1,114), and Pengkalan Kuap (742). The constituency is actually home to people of diverse social background, despite it being regarded as a predominantly-Bumiputera area. Moreover due to its close proximity

The township’s main wet market near Jalan Dato Mohd Musa, which also has a food court.

to Kuching city, as well as the spillover from the boom in Kota Samarahan, Stakan is expected to experience rapid growth as well and this may come soon, seeing that the new township of Bandar Riyal has been set up. Its constituents also hope to see

more good things coming from the government of the day, comprising more allocations for development, the creation of ample business opportunities and also the focus on the people’s well-being.

The Jalan Dato Mohd Musa section of Bandar Riyal.

The Fire and Rescue Academy in Bau that caters to trainees from all over Sarawak.

TASIK BIRU flourishes through two decades of progress THE constituency of Tasik Biru, which covers about two-thirds of Bau District, has seen tremendous development over the past two decades. Twenty years ago, basic infrastructure was still very lacking there, with the majority of villages not connected by good tar-sealed roads, or supplied with treated water and electricity from the main grid. Today, the local communities are enjoying these basic amenities. The town itself had a small population back then, with a small Fire and Rescue station and not many schools. It was also prone to be hit by flooding. However following the state government’s initiative to bring in low-cost housing project to Jambusan in the late 1990s, local developers have been venturing into Bau — resulting in a healthy emergence of new houses and shoplots. A bigger fire station was built and has now become the state Fire and Rescue Academy under the purview of the Fire and Rescue Department. A new police station has also come up and towards addressing the flooding woes, a RM33-million flood mitigation project has been undertaken. Education-wise, the local children go to SK Bau for their primary

The Bau Lake, from which the district’s name derives.

education, while SMK Paku and SMK Singai have been established to solve the overcrowding at the existing two secondary schools — SMK Bau and SMK Lake. For the record, SMK Singai is now under constructions and is expected to be ready in a year or so.

Additionally, requests to build SMK Jagoi and to upgrade SMK Lake have also been brought forth to the government. Moreover, the proposal for Bau to have its own vocational college has received the green light from the federal government, to be commissioned under the 11th

Malaysia Plan (2016-2020). Amidst all these positive developments, there is still a lot more to be done for this rural constituency, which envisions itself to have more urbanised satellite towns and modern villages. The next phase of development for the constituency seems to be on ensuring the commissioning of all the proposed SMK Singai, SMK Jagoi, SMK Lake and vocational college projects — as soon as they get the approval. Other highlighted planned developments are the estate for light industries in Bau, the Western Sarawak Tourism Development Plan slated to be part of the overall Southern Sarawak Corridor as proposed by Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda), high-technology farming and biotechnology freshwater fish rearing, as well as childcare and learning centres. Notably, the proposed Bidayuh Cultural Village at the Research and Development Movement of Singai (Redeems) Centre and the Bau Hakka Cultural Village have also been regarded as highly meaningful projects with respect to local culture and tourism. If fully operational, both proposed projects would stimulate rural development, creating jobs and encouraging entrepreneurship for the rural people.

The signboard for the Opar RGC project near Kampung Stungkor along Bau-Lundu Road.

Opar folk set sight on Pan-Borneo, RGC projects THE community of Opar in Bau is looking forward to having more infrastructure developments in the area — a wish that seems to be heading towards realisation judging by the rate the Pan Borneo Highway project is going. There, the section of the highway runs across Telok Melano in Lundu. Upon completion, the area is expected to provide more business opportunities to the small-scale traders, farmers and hawkers. They are also looking forward to seeing more vibrant progress under the Opar Rural Growth Centre (RGC). Sikem Joheng, 59, of Kampung Jugan says they have been waiting for the highway so that their produce would not only be bought by the locals, but also those from outside Lundu. “Taking about the infrastructure, we hope the government would help set up better and bigger stalls for us hawkers because this is a very strategic place. We have been promised this but it has to wait until the road construction is completed. “Yes, it will take some time but we are very much looking forward to it.” Fellow hawker Mariati Abdullah, 55, of Kampung Tembawang Baru who sells vegetables at her stall

by the roadside, says they are very grateful for the provision of all the facilities there. “We can’t wait to have the Opar RGC fully ready. Having said this, I believe that we are a fortunate lot, having received many assistance. The farmers also get a lot of help from the government through the Agriculture Department, which provides subsidised fertilizers and consultation on farming,” she adds. Overall, the Opar folk seem to be quite enthusiastic about the GRC, especially those living along the Bau-Lundu Road. The centre is also aimed at boosting the cross-border business, which has been running since 2011. It is worthy to note that the key crossing between Malaysia (Sarawak) and Indonesia (Kalimantan) is located in Opar, facilitated by the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Biawak. Electorate-wise, Opar has a total of 9,737 voters — the majority of whom are Bidayuhs. Going forward, there are a number of development plans proposed for Opar, including a road set to connect the villages in the heart of the constituency with Kampung Selampit.


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Bukit Semuja — Semi-urban constituency in rural setting THE floods that hit many villages in Serian in February have been described by many as the worst to hit this district over recent years. The disaster seemed to be more widespread this year, with villages having never experienced flooding were also inundated. In this respect, it is interesting to note that almost all the affected villages are under Bukit Semuja — a new constituency that was created following the re-delineation exercise last year. The centre is in Serian town — a booming place expected to experience more developments, following the elevation of Serian to the state’s newest administrative division last year. As such, Bukit Semuja is described as a semi-urban constituency despite the town being surrounded by many villages. On this, Kampung Slabi Sangkam headman Budan Mehir expresses his hope that the villages in and around Bukit Semuja would not be overlooked, adding that the majority of the local communities are still depending on agricultural activities as their main source of livelihood. “The February flooding did cause hardship to the village folk, as many crops were destroyed. “None of the houses in my village was hit by the floods, but the access road was submerged, making it impassable for days and leaving us cut off from the main road. “How did the road get flooded, we really don’t know. So, I hope the government would look into some

details like improving the drainage here,” says the local community leader. Rising to prominence On Serian town, it is a bustling centre filled with activities and people coming in and out — thanks to its strategic location along the KuchingSri Aman Road. This is further boosted by the establishment of several financial institutions such as commercial and consumer banks, as well as the setup of new supermarkets. The ongoing efforts by Serian District Council (SDC) in making Serian a ‘Must-Stop Town’ for those travelling along Pan Borneo Highway have also contributed to this. There are already new commercial centres and housing areas being developed, with growth plans for Serian town to include expansion on

a 68-acre land near Tangga Bypass, including a 33-acre site for a state government complex to befit Serian’s status as a division. The Pan Borneo Highway stretch in Serian, from the town’s roundabout to Pantu Junction spanning more than 70km, will also be extended into dual-carriageway beginning this year. However for frequent traveller to Serian town, Way Dikod, he says it is getting increasingly difficult to get any parking space in town during daytime due to high number of vehicles. He adds that while he’s happy to see such encouraging growth, he also hopes to see a proper 24-hour food court in Serian for the convenience of those travelling along the Pan Borneo Highway, or for those going to Serian at night for leisure.

house the state’s fourth Industrial Training Institute (ILP) as a site has been approved for the construction of the institution, which will offer local youths the opportunity to go for skills training. Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot believed that as the state’s newest division, Serian

The Louis Junction Commercial Centre is the latest commercial development having been established in Serian town.

deserves an ILP — in line with government’s vision to produce more skilled workers to meet industrialisation needs by 2020. “The project has been approved by the federal government, but like any development programme, it would not be completed that fast.

“(Nonetheless) I can assure you that ILP Serian is my baby and will be my legacy,” says the minister, who is also Serian MP. With the ILP coming up, and the town set for further extension, Serian as the nerve centre of Bukit Semuja is expected to grow towards becoming a more vibrant town.

Skills-training centre It is learned that Serian would soon

Serian also boasts several tourism and leisure attractions, such as the ever-popular Ranchan Waterfall Recreation Park.

Serian Resident’s Office and its district are adjacent to each other.

New division, new hope THE elevation of Serian into a division last year has brought much hope and excitement to the constituents of Tebedu and Kedup, in that they crave for more developments to improve their socio-economic level.

The Braang Bayur Health Clinic is a great convenience for villagers in Padawan.

Mambong, Serembu and Tarat — Of waterfalls and homestays THIS constituency, formerly known as Bengoh, is one of three under the Puncak Borneo parliamentary area — the others are Tarat and the newly-created Serembu.

All three are predominantlyBidayuh, with the electorate in Mambong and Tarat each numbering more than 16,000, while Serembu has over 9,000, as per the latest gazetted data from the Election Commission. Notably, several villages previously under Tarat — Kampung Nusaraya, Kampung Biya Kakas, Kampung Biya Parang, Kampung Biya Assum, Kampung Biya Sapit, Kampung Biya Kamas, Kampung Biya Jaber, Kampung Annah Rais, Kampung Sibuang, Kampung Simuti, Kampung Sibakar, Kampung

Abang and Kampung Batu Gong in Upper Padawan — are now parts of Mambong. Generally, the majority of villages have access to clean water and electricity supply, as well as tar-sealed roads; and such infrastructure will soon reach those yet to enjoy them. For instance, several road projects aimed at connecting more villages in the Upper Padawan have been approved by the state government and would be launched soon. However, the focus is not solely on physical development but also that of human capital and socio-economy such as educational programmes aimed at producing more knowledgeable future generation, as well as the

proposed opening of land for commercial farming and rubber block planting. Tourism is also a high-potential sector here, especially in Mambong and Tarat which are known for their waterfalls and Bidayuh homestays. For Kuching Division Bidayuh community leader Temenggong Austin Dimin Niyon, he hopes that his home constituency Mambong and its neighbouring areas would continue to receive more developments. “The areas have been enjoying tremendous progress and we hope that our representatives could work closely with the government of the day to ensure that this would continue to be so,” he said.

There is anticipation that more developments would take place, as they expect more projects to be implemented now that Serian would be allocated with its own budget. Tebedu and Kedup — both stretching up to the border shared with Indonesia’s Kalimantan Barat — have been the components under Serian parliamentary constituency since 1996. The re-delineation exercise last year saw the creation of Bukit Semuja, which was carved out of Tebedu and Kedup. Tebedu and Kedup are also predominantly-Bidayuh — some 90 per cent of the overall electorate are from that community. Between the two, Tebedu seems slightly more progressive as it has a township (Bandar Mutiara), a district office (it was announced a district last year), an industrial zone, an inland port and also a Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at the border-point with Indonesia. Community-wise, every village seems to be well connected via roads and also have electricity and clean water supply. Going forward, the requests to have more telecommunication towers across the constituency and also the setup of a Level4 government clinic have been forwarded to the government. Kedup, on the other hand, is concentrated in the hinterlands of Serian since the urban Serian town has been included under Bukit Semuja and as such, not all villages there enjoy treated water supply and tar-sealed roads like their Tebedu neighbours have.

Agriculture is the main economic activity there, with acres of land already being turned into oil palm plantations by a state agency, but concerns have been raised over its environmental impact to the rivers there. On the positive side, some 60 villages in the constituency may finally be supplied with clean treated water through projects implemented under the current 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP). Currently, these villages depend on gravity-feed system for their water supply. It is learned that the constituency has been allocated with RM150 million for pipe connection works to supply the villages with water from Slabi Water Treatment Plant. In terms of road infrastructure, all villages in Kedup are quite wellconnected, although between two and five per cent of those roads have yet to be tar-sealed. It is hoped that under 11MP, some villages including Sungai Paoh and Marakai that have yet to enjoy electricity supply, would be connected soon. Additionally, a request has been made on upgrading the Bunan Gega police outpost towards better control the cross-border movement, towards addressing the many crime cases committed by foreigners in the constituency. The proposal states for the outpost to be headed by a sergeant and manned by eight to 10 personnel — an increase over the current two-men strength led by a lance corporal. Wishlist Councillor Lawas Musan of SDC says agriculture remains the core activity in Serian and as such, many village folk would be very appreciative if roads linking their farms with their villages could be built.

He believes this would encourage them to go for commercial farming instead of one just for subsistence. “We must not underestimate local crops like chillies, pineapples and ‘terung asam’ (sour brinjals). These are always in demand, and it is about time to encourage the folk here to plant them on a larger scale.” He also wishes for the upgrading of the Serian-Tebedu Road including works on making it a dual carriageway, so as to encourage more people to visit Tebedu and in turn, boost the economy there especially in Bandar Mutiara. This is because the trading at the inland port would pick up in the next few years, following the pledge by the Indonesian government to develop the Entikong border area. “Notably as we are enjoying the basic infrastructure and facilities, utilities such as treated water supply need to be improved. In some villages, there are times during the day when the water pressure is so low, it causes us much inconvenience. I hope this would be looked into by the government of the day,” says Lawas. Meanwhile, Kampung Mentung Merau chief Stephen Juwe relays the wish of his fellow villagers in Kedup of having treated water supply — hopefully to materialise within the next few years. He also hopes for more commercial-agriculture programmes from agencies such as Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) and Integrated Agriculture Development Area (IADA) to be extended to more villages, towards enabling the local farmers to earn better incomes and thus, improve their livelihood. There is also a wish for Kedup to have its own township, just like Bandar Mutiara in Tebedu. The entrance to Tebedu Inland Port — the first of its kind in Sarawak that recorded trade volumes valued at RM395 million in 2014.

Temenggong Austin (fourth left) witnessing the handover of a mock key to SK Taba Sait, of which building is formerly Naim Group’s site office for the Bengoh Dam project.


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Lubok Antu — Cradle of Iban civilisation BEFORE the construction of the Batang Ai dam in 1985, Lubok Antu – an area in the state that borders with the Indonesian town of Badau in Kapuas Hulu Regency – was solely known for its unique name. Literally, ‘lubok’ means river eddy while ‘antu’ means ghost. A combination of the two is enough to deter any outsider from coming in. Linguistics aside, Lubok Antu is regarded as the cradle of Sarawak Iban civilisation. Prominent Iban historian and writer Benedict Sandin wrote that the Ibans could trace their ancestral roots to the area, believed to be the gateway for their forefathers from Hulu Kapuas in present-day West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Today, the district under Sri Aman Division is home to 31,400 people, the majority of whom are the Ibans. It is interesting to note that the Lubok Antu District Council (MDLA) was formed under the state government’s Local Authorities Ordinance in 1956 – about a year before the independence of Malaya, and eight years before the formation of Malaysia. Within the district, Engkilili is its sole sub-district under the governance of Engkilili Sub-District Office. Within the context of electoral areas, Engkilili and Batang Ai are the state constituencies under Lubok Antu parliamentary area. Many of the folk here still live in longhouses – with some, like those in Skim Skrang, live in individual units. Five years ago, there was no road connectivity linking areas such as Ulu Skrang, Ulu Batang Ai and Ili Batang Ai with the outside world. Back then, the main mode of transportation was via boat – a journey that could take up to 10 hours per way. Things have changed since, with many road projects being undertaken there. Last year, the Phase II of Ulu Skrang Road was announced and the RM3.6-million budget for the construction of seven bridges along Ulu Skrang Road was approved. The only areas that seem to need proper roads are Ulu Engkari and Ulu Lemanak. Adding to this, there are still some households that have yet to be connected with treated water and electricity supply, but they have been assured by the government that the utilities would reach them soon under the ongoing Rural Transformation Project (RTP). In the earlier-mentioned Skim Skrang – a semi-rural neighbourhood near Sungai Skrang Bridge – it has its own community hall that is large

enough to accommodate 600 people at one time. Other public infrastructures are two secondary schools (SMK Lubok Antu and SMK Engkilili) and at least 28 primary schools, three police stations (one each in Lubok Antu town, Engkilili town and Skim Skrang), and also two sports complexes Interestingly, Betong Hospital, SMK Datu Patinggi Kedit and SM Vokasional Betong are actually under Lubok Antu, despite their association with Betong parliamentary constituency.

An aerial view of the water catchment area not far away from Batang Ai dam. One can a network of roads still under construction.

Beyond hydropower

The Batang Ai dam, which was completed in 1985, has become Lubok Antu’s prominent infrastructure in that it was the state’s first ever hydroelectric power (HEP) dam – years before Bakun. “It (Batang Ai dam) is definitely the modern-day icon of Lubok Antu but beyond that, it has also brought in other developments for the people,” says Hillary Bakir Ilun of Sebangki Pandak, Lubok Antu, referring to the Lanjak Entimau National Park and the resort there. There is also a Customs, Immigration And Quarantine (CIQ) Complex not far from Lubok Antu town, serving as the checkpoint for people travelling between Sarawak and Kalimantan.

This arch welcomes all coming to Nanga Bunu, an Iban longhouse in Skrang.

Local livelihood

Farming and tourism have always been the major economic activities of the people in Lubok Antu. Lemanak, with its well-preserved traditional Iban longhouses, is a top tourism attraction, while fishing enthusiasts would find the areas around Batang Ai dam a ‘true paradise’. It has also ventured into eco-tourism and fish cage-rearing. The cash crop is pepper, which the farmers began to cultivate several years ago when the price of the commodity soared. Prior to that, they engaged in rubber-tapping, but abandoned that activity due to the significant drop in prices. “Now that there is a (Ulu Skrang) road that helps connect us with the outside world, it has become easier for the pepper planters to transport their yields to towns, and also for other small-scale farmers and vendors to sell their agricultural and jungle produce – much more convenient than boarding boats back in the days,” said Velly Rabong, a village chief from Ulu Skrang. Another crop that has begun

Residents of a longhouse in Ulu Skrang perform traditional Iban welcome dance to greet guests arriving there for a gathering.

This community hall in Skim Skrang is the largest of its kind in Lubok Antu. to gain prominence in oil palm, especially in Merindun where there are several oil palm processing plants. Going back to pepper, Ulu Skrang may one day become the state’s blackpepper hub especially the areas on the Lubok Antu-Betong border. According to Nanga Murat village chief Nudong Lias, the soil and condition in Ulu Skrang seem to be the most viable ingredients for planting blackpepper.

“Researchers have come to my area and studied the soil here. According to them, the results have been very positive.” Nudong also hopes that the government would also look into another potential cash crop for Ulu Skrang — hill paddy. “Living in this area, farming is the key source of income for my people. Thanks to government aid, we are still able to maintain this way of life,” he adds.

The gateway arch that beckons all to Engkilili town.

A glance at Balai Ringin, Bukit Begunan and Simanggang BALAI Ringin, one of the three state constituencies under Sri Aman parliamentary area, is a quaint area about 75km from Kuching.

Batang Strap Pantu Bridge was completed in 2009 at a cost of around RM20 million.

The predominantly-Iban area has been experiencing holistic developments over the years through numerous projects, aimed at improving its socio-economic landscape. Many see this as warranting the elevation of Balai Ringin into a subdistrict, to follow suit the elevation of Serian from district into a division. Many also see that planned construction of a new commercial township and a new mini sports complex would further reinforce such proposal. Balai Ringin is also the recipient of the Rural Electrification Scheme (RES), getting RM100 million in allocations slated for providing 35 per cent in electricity supply coverage in 2006 and up to another 80 per cent last year. An additional of RM10 million has also been set aside to carry out the RES this year. For the next constituency Bukit Begunan, the most obvious development is the upgrading of the feeder roads and overall electrification of the longhouses. Among the gravel roads having undergone tar-sealing are those in Lachau, Kara, Sungai Besai, Selanjan Road, Bukit Balau, Jungkong Road,

The statue of an otter, which is among the most iconic of all Balai Ringin’s landmarks. Melugu, Po Ai Road, Engkramut Road, Tanjung Bijat Road and Melugu Scheme Road. Over 90 per cent of longhouses in Bukit Begunan are enjoying a 24-hour electricity — thanks to the RES. The constituency also has new open multipurpose halls in SK Munggu Bringin and SK Melugu, and will soon see the construction of two more in Gua and Melugu Scheme, to be commissioned at a cost of RM1 million. All three constituencies appear to have its own niche when it comes

to landmark developments, and Simanggang is no different. The two major projects that it has been allocated with are the RM200million Sri Aman Hospital and the RM43-million upgrading works on the Bayai water treatment plant. It is also the recipient of a RM110million allocation under RES, slated to power up all households across the constituency. So far, the coverage has reached 95 per cent, with the remaining five per cent that covers areas in Ulu Undop, Sebangkoi and Batu Lintang to come soon.


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The Gedong Bridge that leads to Simunjan.

Agro-tourism a viable prospect for Gedong THE people of the new constituency of Gedong definitely want more developments and economic opportunities to come their way. In this respect, Penghulu Abang Ronee Abang Sa’adili believes that this is where the Rural Transformation Centre (RTC) comes into play. “Gedong is famed for its pineapples but more than that, there are various other agricultural activities that the people here can be involved in,” says the local community leader. Abang Ronee points out that with the completion of Sungai Buluh Bridge and the road linking Simunjan with Gedong, travelling time has been shortened and mobility has been further enhanced. “This would translate to more economic activities and opportunities for the locals to market their products outside (Gedong).” Gedong, adds Abang Ronee, can also participate in the tourism industry despite its status as a rural constituency. “With better road connectivity now compared to years before,

Gedong is famed for its pineapples but more than that, there are various other agricultural activities that the people here can be involved in. Penghulu Abang Ronee Abang Sa’adili, local community leader

PENGHULU ABANG RONEE ABANG SA’ADILI we strongly feel that agro-tourism should be an area that can be looked at. We welcome those wanting to further explore this possibility, and also to see how the locals can be assisted in this area. “All this while, all the relevant government agencies have been doing a good job in assisting the locals, particularly in the agricultural sector. “What we need now is something bigger — one that could lift the status of Gedong to be on par with other developing rural towns in

Masjid Al Khawtsar is among the most prominent of all landmarks in Gedong. Sarawak,” he adds. On another matter, Abang Ronee appreciates the efforts by both state and federal governments of not leaving out the rural Sarawakians when it comes to education. “The new SK Abang Kadir is a

statement by the government that highlights the importance of education for the rural community, and we’re glad by that.” However, the penghulu also hopes that there would be a vocational college or technical training centre

in Gedong, adding that this would provide the local youths not only with a platform for them to acquire technical skills and knowledge, but also for them to stay and serve in their hometown. “We do want the youths to stay

and give back to the community. Normally they would go out (of Gedong) to study, later to work and settle down there. If possible, we do not want this to happen — we would want the new generation to lead the development in Gedong,” he adds.

The nearly completed Batang Sadong bridge.

Progress backed by key bridge project The road that leads to the bridge linking Simunjan with Gedong.

THE whole parliamentary area of Batang Sadong comprises the state constituencies of Sadong Jaya, Simunjan and the newly-created Gedong.

They are considered predominantly-Bumiputera, with agriculture still remains as the major economic activity by the people. However, they are also recipient of the Batang Sadong Bridge and the clean water supply projects — the largest so far for Batang Sadong. The attention is clearly on the latter, as Batang Sadong was plagued by serious water crisis back in 2012. SADONG JAYA This constituency is set to see further development, seeing

that it has been allocated with RM8.58 million for a number of road projects, RM5 million for infrastructure works, and RM2.2 million for suraus and mosques. As far as road connectivity is concerned, the people of Sadong Jaya are enjoying good access with many owning cars and motorcycles. It also appears that almost all villages across the constituency are connected to treated water and electricity supply. Another significant project is the RM1 billion Batang Sadong Bridge, upon which completion would accommodate even more projects coming in and in turn, raise the standard of living for the people. SIMUNJAN Just like Sadong Jaya, Simunjan is

also set to benefit tremendously from the bridge project. Over the past five years, the pace of development has been steady there but things would speed up once the Batang Sadong Bridge and also the SimunjanGedong link road are ready. Another area of focus is education — similar to Gedong. Simunjan folk also dream of having a dedicated institution in the constituency — be it a vocational school, a skills training centre or a full-fledged college. Over the recent years, plans have been announced about turning Simunjan into the state’s ‘Agropolis’ with the focus on herb farming, as well as plantation of cocoa, paddy and oil palm.


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The Batang Lupar Bridge would ensure that the 5,000-hectare ‘Rice Bowl Project’ and food production hub have a reliable, uninterrupted connectivity.

A fishing boat cruises along the Maludam River.

Accessibility vital for communities in Batang Lupar THE Batang Lupar Bridge stands as a highly significant infrastructure ever undertaken in the state — if the coastal development plan were to be implemented effectively. The RM800-million project is slated towards providing accessibility for the people in the coastal region and also an alternative route for travellers, as well as transporters of goods and services moving to-and-from the state’s southern and northern. Batang Lupar MP Dato Sri Rohani Abdul Karim sees the bridge as a channel of ‘rezeki’ (fortune) for the people as it would boost economic development in the area. Moreover, the bridge would ensure that the 5,000-hectare Batang Lupar ‘Rice Bowl Project’ and food production hub have a reliable, uninterrupted connectivity. According to her, the ‘Rice Bowl Project’ is crucial in addressing the nation’s current 30 per cent shortage in rice production. Under Batang Lupar, there are three state constituencies: Lingga, Sebuyau and Beting Maro. Lingga For local coffee-shop owner — who wants to be known only as Yeo — there is a need to develop various industries in order to increase employment opportunities that could attract more people to Lingga. “I think this is the most important thing to help Lingga to flourish again. The youths are leaving the town to find jobs in big cities.

I think this is the most important thing to help Lingga to flourish again. The youths are leaving the town to find jobs in big cities. coffee-shop owner in Lingga

“We cannot deny that the young people have no choice in this regard. The population has begun to shrink, albeit slowly. How could we grow a town without its people?” Yeo hopes that whatever development taking place in Lingga, it should also take into account of the long-term impact and benefits, as well as the well-being of its people particularly the traders. “We all still need to sustain our livelihood — even in such a small town.” For Maludam resident Musa Bohari, acknowledges efforts by the government of the day in making their lives better. “I can see how they (government) put focus on rural development, even for Maludam. The government’s wharf here, for example, remains among the main entry points to Maludam if you use the waterways. “It used to be all wood, but it has been upgraded to concrete,” he points out. Musa also notes that road developments have allowed freedom of movement that can translate into other development such as the setup of a new commercial centre there, which is in

progress. On this note, he wishes such change and progress, despite coming in gradually, would be an ongoing process. Meanwhile another resident Safiee Golong highlights the availability of prawns going for RM20 per kilogramme, and a crab species locally known as ‘Ketam Kalok”, priced at RM25 per kilogramme — far cheaper than those one could find in the larger towns and cities. According to him, these are just some of the varieties that are procured and sold in Maludam — thanks to the usage and availability bigger vessels that allow the fishermen to venture further into sea. Having said this, Safiee hopes that the government to continue looking after the well-being of the fishing and seafood industries in Maludam. “These have been some positive changes that we’ve seen over the years. The government has been giving the fishermen subsidies on petrol to run their boat, which is good. “Let’s just hope that this would continue.” Sebuyau Back in the early and middle 20th century, Sebuyau town was a thriving fishing port where apart from fishing, the local folk were also involved in the preservation of fish. Kapitan Law Khin Seng, 57, shows the preserved snout of a saw shark caught by his grandfather caught fishing in the South China Sea a long

time ago — as if to further prove this point. “There was plenty of fish off Sebuyau back then, even this shark,” he claims. Law, who is the third generation of Teochew trader and the fourth Chinese Kapitan in Sebuyau town, then speaks of a ‘wind of change’ taking place in his hometown. “The rural transformation drive has given us better connectivity, the technology, the bridge, the roads and the ferry service. Economywise, we are seeing a boost not only in Sebuyau but also in other small towns and communities. As with other Batang Lupar folk, Law highlights the impact brought upon by the completion of the Batang Lupar and Batang Sadong bridges, which has made Sebuyau connected to the ‘rest of the world’. “I still remember in the past, we had to take big, fast boats that broke through the waves on the way to Kuching. Back then, it was the only way of transportation. Now, it’s a thing in the past.” Law hopes that with the establishment of the proposed Sebuyau Town Commercial Centre, the fishing port would once again flourish like it was years ago. “I also wish that more Chinese traders would come back to do business in Sebuyau. “This is a beautiful place, with the potential to be transformed into a modern coastal town complete with well-equipped marinas to harbour ships and vessels,” he adds.

Law and his grandfather’s legacy — the preserved snout of a saw shark.

Batang Sadong Bridge stretches 1.45km across Batang Sadong River, which lies between Sebuyau and Simunjan town.

Beladin — An impression of rural progress AGRICULTURE and fisheries are still the primary economic activities in Beladin, but this small town in the state constituency of Beting Maro is far from being under-developed.

The new bazaar, which was built five years ago, has made the economic landscape in Beladin even more vibrant.

It is, in fact, regarded as the largest fishing village in Sarawak where it has 2,000 households and a population of about 10,000. Connectivity-wise, one has to travel on board ferry to reach Beladin from Pusa. However, the local folk could look forward to receiving a number of projects that are in the pipeline, says local community leader Zaini Karim. “The construction of the district’s clinic is ongoing, the LKIM (Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority) complex is now 90-per cent completed, RM20 million has been allocated for the construction

A ferry laden with passengers and vehicles crosses Batang Saribas, heading to Beladin from Pusa.

of the district’s police headquarters and a ‘Sekolah Agama’ (Islamic religious school) would also be built,” he notes, emphasising that upon the completion of the LKIM complex, the major fishing industry and its downstream operations would be more vibrant than it already is. The most anticipated of all developments, Zaini adds, would be the Batang Lupar and Batang Sadong bridges that would improve accessibility and open up the area. “All we ask from the government of the day is to bring more developments to Beladin, so that the people would prosper. This town has seen significant progress since 2011.” On issues that need addressing, Zaini highlights the proposed installation of streetlights along the

village roads. “It is more on safety, especially at night. “Moreover, we hope that the government could provide us with proper stalls for the weekend market, which has been attracting huge crowds comprising not only of locals but also those from outside Senadin.” Zaini also mentions that piped water is still an issue, but he adds: “We know that it is under development — a project costing about RM8 million.” For local resident Hashimah Sahari, 38, she concurs with Zaini that Beladin has seen positive development over the past five years, especially after the new commercial area was set up. “The town is definitely livelier and more vibrant now. I manage the

weekend market, which runs once a month and that single event brings in a lot of people. “We, however, do hope that the corporate sector could offer the sponsorships to carry out activities, while the government could provide us with a proper venue,” says the operator of Norlan Cafe. For administrative personnel Mohd Zashazeren, 29, the youths in Beladin do not seem to be particularly active and motivated. “Most the young people are working in big cities like Johor and Singapore; they only come back during the festive holidays. “The youths in this town seem to lack motivation. My guess is that they need an avenue to gather like a football field. Having said this, there’s a mini stadium here but it’s not fully utilised,” he observes.

Mohd Zashazeren believes his hometown deserves a football field to encourage the youths to be more active.

The Beladin folk could look forward to receiving a number of projects that are in the pipeline, says Zaini.


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Agriculture, human capital fuel Betong’s growth SINCE its elevation into the state’s 11th division in March 2002, Betong has been enjoying rapid infrastructure and economic growth, spurred by its agriculture sector and human capital development. So far, road coverage has reached 96 per cent, connecting almost all 300 villages and longhouses under the jurisdiction of Betong District Council. Supply coverage of treated water, as at last December, was at 86 per cent while 24-hour electricity reached 76 per cent of its over60,000 population. According to district officer Friday Belik, plans under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) to connect the remaining households with these facilities are underway. He is confident that road connectivity, treated water and electricity supply penetration will hit 100 per cent by 2020. “The government is committed to creating road linkages that will connect the whole of Betong Division 100 per cent. “By 2020, all villages and longhouses will be connected with road infrastructure. “The same can be said on the planning for treated water supply and RES (Rural Electrification Scheme) projects here. On a whole, infrastructure development and provision of basic facilities in Betong is on track and not far behind other divisions,” he reports. Touching on the remaining four per cent yet to be connected with road infrastructure, Friday says there are about eight longhouses yet to have proper road linkages such as the areas in Lempaong, Ulu Spak, Padeh, Melayu and Rantau Lelayang. As for the 96 per cent, Friday admits that not all are tar-sealed — some are either concrete or gravel. As for Layar and Bukit Saban state constituencies under Betong parliamentary area, Friday points out Layar — where Betong town is located — as being the ‘more vibrant one’ as far as development is concerned. In Bukit Saban, 80 per cent

Kolej Vokasional Betong trainees concentrate on a task at hand during a practical session.

The government is committed to creating road linkages that will connect the whole of Betong Division 100 per cent. By 2020, all villages and longhouses will be connected with road infrastructure. Friday Belik, Betong district officer

of the households are enjoying power supply, and 95 per cent clean water supply. Paved roads also cover 90 per cent of the area. “Infrastructure and economic developments remain an important agenda to develop Betong and its people. “Since the introduction of the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP), over RM30 million has been spent to improve infrastructure in this district, including upgrading of roads. “We understand that any development initiative could not be carried out altogether at the same time due to the amount of planning and funds needed. The government is doing its best to bring development to the people in both urban and rural areas. “Now, we hope for a continuous cooperation from the people to be supportive of the government’s initiative to bring in development,” Friday continues. On socio-economic development,

This sports stadium provides an avenue for the townsfolk to engage in healthy activities. he attributes the thriving agriculture and agro-based sectors in Betong to the aid and subsidies provided by various government agencies such as the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda). At present, rubber plantation areas have reached more than 14,000 hectares. Pepper is also another major, profitable commodity — the commercial farms cover over 92,000 hectares of land. “Commercial oil palm planting stretches throughout the division from Betong all the way to Saratok. The number of smallholders has significantly increased over the past few years and they are now by the thousands. Hopefully, more would take the opportunity to participate in agriculture.” Rubber, oil palm, pepper, paddy and other cash crops, as well as a host of cottage industries, aquaculture and livestock breeding are the

main focus in Layar-Spak Rural Growth Centre and Gunung Sadok Agropolitan Master Plan. Human capital development Betong will continue its push for human capital development through the setup of several educational institutions catering from preschoolers to school-leavers. The Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) here was established in 2008 at a cost of RM48 million, its community college in 2009 and the GiatMara Training Centre. Additionally, it also has Kolej Vokasional Betong and the RM20million Metro Polytechnic at the new township extension area, with a student capacity of 1,508. “Extensive human capital development in Betong is to make sure that the people here would not be left behind in terms of education. The increasing youths and students population certainly helps socioeconomic development as the increasing community strengthens spending power and ensures

thriving local economy. These students will become the main draw for businesses and in-migration to come to Betong. “In addition, experience has taught me that many students who went on to become successful individuals would certainly return home to give back to society, in whatever capacity,” says Kolej Vokasional Betong director Mohamad Sahran Amin. According to him, for a district or division to grow, it must have a strong foundation and a large pool of quality human capital. “These individuals are the ones who will come back and create economic opportunities.” Currently, the vocational college under Mohamad Sahran’s charge has 694 students this year, and it target to produce 240 graduates annually. Quality of life The priority continues to be on enhancing the quality of life of the Betong folk, encompassing a wide

spectrum including population growth, provision of affordable homes, sports complex, recreational park, hospital, places of worship and social services. The Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan Sports Complex was built near the state government office complex near Jalan Setia Raja, while a public swimming pool is being planned to be constructed nearby. In addition, Betong also boasts a fully-equipped 1,000-spectator football stadium. A recreational park is under development at the new township. Over the past years, an irrigation system project was completed to water from the town through Sungai Entanak and its tributaries such as Sungai Engkabang. Some small outlets are also discharged directly to Batang Layar. A section of the irrigation system also served as a lake at the recreational park.

Saribas gets more vibrant by the day AFTER decades of lacklustre economic performance, Saribas has now emerged stronger — thanks to the vast infrastructure development, reform in agriculture activities and the reinforcement of human capital.

The constituency’s main district of Debak is getting more vibrant by the day due to the growing number of businesses and petty traders. What was once a quiet town, has now become congested especially during weekends, due to the rising spending power of the 22,500 population in Saribas. Temenggong Piee Alwi, 62, a community leader from Kampung Debak Laut, has experienced firsthand the rapid development in Saribas, especially over the past five years. Road infrastructure, penetrating up to 90 per cent across the constituency, has greatly benefitted the farming community. Smallholders in rubber, oil palm, pineapple and paddy farming are rapidly growing, thanks to the good road network. Piee explains that cash crops including other agro-based products are now easier to be transported, leading to improved income and economic sustainability for both farmers and traders. “In general, the economic growth here is evident. The increased spending power of the people here can be seen by the number of stalls set up at the weekend market or during festivals. “Debak town would experience quite heavy traffic as the people come to shop. They are not only from Saribas, but across the Betong Division. “When you look at the households, almost every family owns a vehicle now, with those owning more than one are considered normal. Having a vehicle nowadays is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. “This is definitely one sign of the improving socio-economy,” says the retired police officer and former councillor. Quite impressively, many local youths are involved in modern farming — the modern term for them would be ‘agro-preneurs’. “There is a big difference in

The Kabong District Office, which is the seat of administration for the area.

Kabong — The ‘new player’ in town KABONG is poised to experience an accelerated pace of growth, following its elevation from sub-district to a full-pledged district late last year.

Piee (second left) and Kampung Tuie chief Marikan Mahli (left) visit the local market and interact with traders. economic growth and infrastructure development here over the last five years. Awareness among the people of the importance to be selfsufficient is also improving,” Piee observes. On what should be improved in Saribas, the community leader hopes that road connectivity, treated water and 24 hour electricity supply would reach 100 per cent under 11MP. He also calls for more low-cost housing projects. It is learned that two rural transformation service centres costing RM34 million would be built to accommodate the demands in Tanjung Assam, Sebemban and Balingan areas, and also those across Mangut, Tuie and Supa. A bridge across Sungai Rimbas was also completed at a cost of RM46 million in Pusa. Coastal rural road connecting Supa, Tuie and Medang was completed early last year at a cost of RM76 million. Also completed was the Bungin

road (RM4.5 million) and Jalan Kampung Medang (RM4.7 million), which connects most of the main rural settlements across Betong division. Treated water supply project connecting areas in Tanjung Assam, Sebemban and Balingan, as well as areas in Kampung Serembang and Manggut, was completed in 2014. The past five years also saw the completion of bund roads and irrigation in Kampung Bungin, Serembang, Manggut, Tuie, Serabang, Supa and Medang under Kalaka-Saribas Integrated Agriculture Development Area (IADA). Other developments included the flood mitigation projects under the Drainage and Irrigation Department. Sixty per cent of villages in Saribas have been connected with treated water supply. Those still on the waiting list are Kampung Tuie, Serabang, Supa, Medang, Rumah Buda Ili and Rumah Buda Ulu.

However, a piping project worth RM3.3 million was completed last year in Kampung Buda Spaoh and Rumah Lubok Debak. A budget of RM20 million was approved under the 11MP for water connection project in Kampung Manggut to benefit those in Tuie, Serabang, Supa and Medang. Moreover, a proposal has been submitted to the state government for the construction of a 9.5km road connecting Debak with Kampung Tuie. The Debak Health Clinic is also undergoing upgrading, with the installation of a kidney dialysis machine. A request has also been put forth for the relocation of SK Sebemban to higher ground, as the current site is exposed to the threat of a riverbank erosion. Other new infrastructures in Saribas include a multipurpose hall, National Registration Department (NRD) office and a police station, of which the construction is ongoing.

As a new state constituency, it is under the jurisdiction of Saratok parliamentary area. At present, Kabong District has its own team headed by a district officer to oversee the planning and implementation of development programmes. With the creation of Kabong as a new constituency, it will have an assemblyman from whom the people and local authority could request for development funds from the government. Kabong District has an administrative area of 398.14km² and based on 2004 Statistics, it probably has a population of more than 13,000 people now, he majority of whom are farmers and fishermen. The Malays reside in 27 villages mostly in the coastal areas and they make up the majority of the population — about 80 per cent. The Ibans live in 26 longhouses, comprising 17 per cent of the population and the rest are Chinese. The Malays especially the women, aided by various agencies, are involved in cottage industries such as processing salted fish, seafood and various types of local snacks such as banana, potato and tapioca

chips. They are also known for producing ‘gula apong’ (dark, thick sago palm sugar) and traditional delicacies based on ‘gula apong’, which they sell in nearby towns like Saratok and Sarikei, as well as to visitors coming there. The Ibans are also mostly farmers benefitting from incentives and schemes provided by government agencies like Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) and the state Agriculture Department. Kabong also has tourism attractions like Tanjong Kembang Beach, where the annual beach festival takes place and has been included on Betong Division’s tourism calendar. Other popular destinations are Pantai Gerigat and Pantai Alit — all with good potential to be developed into popular tourism havens. Kabong was carved out of Kampung Selalang under Kuala Rajang (formerly known as Belawai) and Kalaka. It has a total of 9,157 registered voters. It is the third state constituency under Saratok parliamentary area — the other two are Krian and Kalaka.


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We do hope to see more job opportunities available for the locals, based on their academic credentials and experience. Understandably, these companies (operating in industrial hubs) can employ foreign workers especially the specialists; but if there are local experts available, then they should give the priority to them (local minds). It is our hope that Bintulu would continue experiencing rapid growth, especially in SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy) areas. — Temenggong Abang Suhaili Abang Mohammad, local community leader

THE name Samalaju has always been synonymous with the state’s high-technology industry, in that this area houses two major heavy industrial hubs — the Kidurong Industrial Estate and Samalaju Industrial Park. As a new state constituency, which is predominantly-Iban, it is under Bintulu parliamentary area and its electorate numbers at 12,927. Its neighbouring state constituencies are Jepak, Tanjung Batu and Kemena. Samalaju is divided into eight polling districts — Sibiew Similajau, Tanjung Kidurong, Suai, Melor, Mawar, RPR Kidurong, and LKTS Suai. Local community leader Temenggong Abang Suhaili Abang Mohammad says while there is no major issue in the constituency, the people do want to see more community-centric developments. “We do hope to see more job opportunities available for the locals, based on their academic credentials and experience. Understandably, these companies (operating in industrial hubs) can employ foreign workers especially the specialists; but if there are local experts available, then they should give the priority to them (local minds). “It is our hope that Bintulu would continue experiencing rapid growth, especially in SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy) areas,” Abang Suhaili adds. For Temenggong Datuk Barry Yek Siew Hui, he is very concerned about the need to have proper development masterplan to ensure that it could be effectively implemented within the given timeframe. “We want to look into the future of Bintulu becoming a beautiful and friendly industrial city by year 2020. “Everybody has to be civicminded, through education. In this respect, the media should continuously educate the people and to upgrade their thinking about PENGHULU the DRAHMAN KAWI

The Samalaju Port

Aerial view of Samalaju Industrial Park.

Samalaju — A name synonymous with hi-tech heavy industry importance of education for their future.” Yek also realises that while every development brings its own challenges and problems, it is crucial for all parties to play their respective roles in addressing and solving them. “This is why I stress on being civic-minded. Even with world-class facilities and enforcement, without civicmindedness, problems would remain unsolved.” Yek also acknowledges that with Bintulu being in the centre of SCORE, many would stand to benefit from it. “The vision for development must include plans that encompass key areas such as socio-economy and humanity for the next 50 years. “Bintulu itself has the potential to be upgraded into a city by 2020 — this is one vision,” he says. Jepak GENERALLY, the people of Jepak are quite satisfied with the projects across this constituency such as the reconstruction of Surau Darul Iman in Kampung Sebuan Kecil Jepak and upgrading works on the ablution area in Masjid

TEMENGGONG DATUK BARRY YEK SIEW HUI

One of many plants operating in Samalaju Industrial Park. Jepak. Other facilities in Jepak include Mara Skills Training Institute (IKM), Advanced Technology Training Centre (AdTec) and SMK Kemena. Nonetheless, a bridge over Sungai Kemena linking Kampung Jepak with Bintulu town would be a much welcomed move, says Penghulu Drahman Kawi. Currently, the people of Kampung Jepak rely on river

transportation and also the BintuluSibu Road. “In representing local villagers here, I hope this project would be given adequate provision towards the acceleration of its construction,” he adds. Apart from that, he also calls for Kampung Jepak to have a religious school in addition to an existing primary school. “I’m also requesting for the setup of a new

primary school in the village. Perhaps we can propose for it to be built under Kampung Warisan Jepak settlement scheme.” Jepak has been undergoing favourable growth since the 1970s, following the implementation of several large-scale industries such as oil and gas, oil palm, timber and other downstream activities. This area is expected to reap the many benefits, including the provision of more housing units for

the people, via SCORE. Kemena Here, the people are involved in a joint-venture with an established plantation group on developing the Native Customary Rights (NCR) land through largescale oil palm planting. The participants have even gained dividends from the operation. Moreover, Kemena folk who are involved in agriculture and livestock breeding have formed Selad Sebemban Smallholder Farmers Association, with financial support from the government, through relevant agencies. This venture ensures that not only the NCR would not be left idle, but it also helps participants improve their socio-economy. Meanwhile, the implementation of key facilities such as road network that links with Hulu Sebauh, ferry services between Sebauh and Hulu Sebauh, Sungai Sebauh riverfront and NCR perimeter survey have also helped a lot, as far as progress in Kemena is concerned.


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The building that houses various government agencies in Daro District.

Passengers and their vehicles disembark from Serdeng ferry that crosses Batang Paloh.

Improved land connectivity a boon for Daro, Matu/Jemoreng THE implementation of SibuTanjung Manis Road that links with Daro and Matu-Jemoreng has made the towns better known by many than they

were before. Travellers going to Daro and then, to Matu/Jemoreng via the stretch that connects Daro and Mukah would board ferries that crosses Batang Igan, while those using the road connecting Daro and Sibu would cross Muara Lassa. Still, the growth of these towns remain vibrant,

This row of wooden shophouses retains the quaint atmosphere in Matu town, which has been enjoying positive progress over the years.

The growth rate has been quite tremendous over the past several years and it is still on-going. — Kuswadi Kana, Kampung Jemoreng resident

primarily due to its coverage under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). Notable, the traffic going to and coming from the town has been quite busy, with lorries and trading vans plying the roads. Such positive progress can be attributed to the development of the road system, particularly the improved Sibu-Tanjung Manis-Daro dan Sibu-Mukah-Daro roads. Another form of communications, namely telecommunication, is a nonproblem for the folk in Daro, Matu and Jemoreng — almost all of them own mobile phones. Implementation of water supply project The water supply needs for the people in these areas are addressed through the RM79-million rural water supply project that includes a treatment plant in Hulu Kampung

The Daro District Office, the town’s seat of administration.

A telecommunication tower in Daro, which provides mobile coverage for the locals.

The Daro Public Market, one of the town’s landmarks.

The Daro Kemas (Community Development Department) activity centre.

Jemoreng. It has the capacity to supply 10.5 million litres per day (MLD). Moreover, the proposed RM350-million Igan Bridge project should further spur the growth there, upon its implementation. “The growth rate has been quite tremendous over the past several years and it is still on-going,” says Kuswadi Kana of Kampung Jemoreng, who adds that Igan, Daro and Matu could only be accessed via river transportation before they had road network. “Now, you can reach Daro, Matu and Jemoreng directly from Sibu or Mukah via land — thanks to the efforts by our government in bringing progress to us, which in turn helps elevate our standard of living,” highlights Kuswadi, who is working in Sibu. For Sibu Melanau Association deputy chairperson Dayang Rohayah Awang Yahod, she hopes that there would be more skills-training institutes in Matu/Jemoreng, in addition to a GiatMara centre in Daro, which offers automotive training to youths. “This is another means of development — one that focuses on skilled human capital,” says the lecturer at Sarawak Agriculture Institute.


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Kuala Rajang to benefit from impact driven by SCORE

Len Talif (third left) with a delegation during a visit to Masjid Arqam in Kampung Belawai.

THE Kuala Rajang state constituency, which encompasses parts of Sarikei and Mukah divisions including Tanjung Manis, is the new name of what used to be known as Belawai — a change that was part of the recent redelineation exercise on electoral boundaries last year.

Belawai, as an administrative area on its own, is still known as it is and recently, it was elevated to district status from sub-district. This indicates that the state government has plans for this rural constituency, including the setup of the halal hub under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) master plan. Datu Len Talif Salleh, in his capacity as the then-Assistant Minister under Chief Minister’s Office, said the elevation to district status was aimed at enhancing its administration and boosting its economic growth. The move to make Belawai a fullfledged district was also in line with the focus on rural development, as championed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem. Pemanca Dandan Sidi, 70, the community leader for Tanjung Manis, says the area — once a quaint fishermen’s community — has undergone tremendous changes over the years including having its own airport. “There are many beautiful houses in Belawai, as well as facilities like good roads, schools, clinic and treated water supply. The cottage industry here is also quite vibrant.

The Tanjung Manis District Office. Public Utilities Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (fourth left) with Len Talif (left) and others take a closer look at Tanjung Manis District’s development model at an event. “The residents should be proud in seeing such encouraging development,” he says. Dandan also believes that Tanjung Manis — also a full-fledged district — is poised towards vibrant growth going forward. “Our wish is that the rural transformation could be expedited,” he adds. On development in the Sare area, local community leader Penghulu Bidai Gisang, 51, says fellow residents are very content as all the basic necessities seem to be in place.

“I believe that our state government can do more for rural communities like us.” The road networks connects towns, neighbourhoods and longhouses — facilitating the people in their daily routines like shopping for groceries. Treated water supply has also reached more than two-thirds of total households. They also enjoy telecommunications coverage, thanks to the setup of three telecommunication towers there. For Selalang, Penghulu Amir Hamzah says the residents are

all for the plans by the state government to bring progress to their area, especially development projects. “The road network, water supply and also an Internet centre are all indicative of the government’s concern on developing Selalang. We now have a new hall that serves to facilitate any activity by the community here,” the 52-year-old community leader says on behalf of some 1,000 Selalang residents who comprise fishermen, workers in wood processing plants and those in the civil service.

The Tanjung Manis Airport — an indication that the district is poised towards vibrant growth going forward.

Road network, rural projects to expedite Semop’s progress THE people of Semop are looking forward to receiving more development project in line with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s focus on rural transformation. One particular area of attention is education, in which Pulau Bruit — an area under the state constituency — saw SK Semop receiving its first batch of students in January 2016. Bruit Area Fishermen’s Association (PNK) chairman Councillor Ismaily Johari views the school as signifying the importance of education for children in the rural areas. “We can have physical development, but it is equally important to also focus on human capital development. This secondary school is an indication of this— slated for our youngsters.” Additionally, Ismaily opines that the implementation of the Rural Growth Centre (RGC) should boost the overall development in Semop. According to him, 307 housing units di RGC Semop that comes equipped with facilities such as a community hall, recreation area, mosque and shophouses. “It may take some time, but the potential for the RGC to enhance the overall development of Semop is definitely there.”

The fishing industry is still the main livelihood for many Pulau Bruit folk.

Road network It is undeniable that having decent road network is vital in channelling growth into any area, especially the rural ones. In this respect, the majority of communities in Semop are enjoying

good connectivity, which helps a lot in elevating their socio-economy. Residents in the northern part of Pulau Bruit, in particular, are able to move around — thanks to the gravel road that links Sungai Nai with Kampung Penuai. The sretch connects the people there with Daro town, Tanjung Manis and also Sibu. In essence, it is an oil palm plantation road that was undertaken by the government for the convenience of the local communities. Moreover, another 8km gravel road linking Kampung Penuai with Kampung Salah Kecil is underway, with the works having commenced in December last year and are expected to finish by March 2017. “It is hoped that with the completion of the road project, it would boost socio-economic growth in Semop as it would enable access for many government departments and agencies to come in and bring more projects for the people,” says the secretary of Semop branch of Sarawak United National Youths Organisation (Saberkas), Gusti Sahdan. “The efforts by the state government in providing these basic facilities are highly appreciated. They really help in boosting the local smallholding industries, such as the processing of smoked prawns and ‘lumek’ (a type of soft-boned fish). “Having good connectivity definitely helps to boost marketing activities of these products,” he adds.

Fishing boats line up along a river in Pulau Bruit.


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Pupils attend class in SK Tegulang.

One of the longhouses in the Tegulang and Mentalun resettlements in Murum. THE recently re-delineated constituency of Murum is a land of energy and beauty. Situated on high country, it is constantly surrounded by white clouds and green mountains. The lake created after the impoundment of the Murum dam made it an even more enchanting place with its large stretch of calm and darkish water. The lake area has a strange mysterious ambience, much like the Loch Ness where some ancient monsters might just emerge from the deep at any time. While there are some mysterious aspects about Murum, there are also some bright sunny sides about the place, especially when the people here are concerned. They are simple, direct and friendly with smile as bright as sunshine. What is most notable is their warm hospitality. It is something that no visitors can forget, as it comes so readily and genuine. Murum, being the land of resettlers, has more than five ethnic groups. It is indeed an epitome of cultural integration which Sarawak is very proud of. Against the backdrop of green mountains and white clouds, there is always the colourful cultures of various ethnic communities there, making it one of the most interesting places in Sarawak. Consisting of Long Murum, Sungai Asap and Tubau, Murum is the new powerhouse alongside with Belaga state constituency. Sungai Asap This is resettlement site for those affected by the Bakun dam project — a place that is quite unique. While the community leaders are

The magic that is Murum I understand that there is already a plan to set up a new primary school in Sungai Asap. We hope that it would be named SK Apau Koyan. Hopefully, the project would commence soon. — Pemanca Umek Jeno, Sungai Asap community leader

(From left) Fellow longhouse headmen Ballrully, Joshua and Lichong. wise and intelligent, as they are simple and friendly. A meeting with them at the mini Sungai Asap Bazaar was one that was full of laughter and delight. The local community leaders, when met at a quaint shop in town recently, recommended to us the ‘Mee Soup Ikan’ — noodles in a broth of catfish and soya sauce. At a glance, the cooking method was not unique as it was just like the normal Foochow noodle soup. What made it different, however, was the

A trader arranges jungle produce at her lot in Sungai Asap Bazaar.

fresh catfish, which lifted the dish into a totally new level — making it a must-try for both locals and travellers. The experience was made even more memorable by the abundance of fresh fruits. After the ‘Mee Soup Ikan’, local community leader Pemanca Umek Jeno suddenly fished out ‘mata kuching’ (a relative of the lychee), rambutan and durian from his four-wheel drive vehicle (4WD) — as if the fruits were grown from it.

Sitting at the shop savouring the fresh fruits while watching the dust ‘dance in the air’ whenever a 4WD passed by, one could not help but notice the positive vibe and vibrant energy in the air. Umek and his followers are very happy with the basic facilities available in Sungai Asap — the road connectivity, the schools, the clinic and the presence of government agencies. Still, they would want to see more shops being set up in the area. “We also need more banks to open their offices here. With more shophouses, it would enable the banks to come and set up their branches here,” he said. Fellow community leader Penghulu Saging Bit, meanwhile,

Photo shows the ‘Belawing’, which is the ‘Heroes’ Monument’ for the Kayans, erected at Rumah Bakah in Sungai Asap. said there was a proposal to set up another primary school to cater to the local community, in addition to the existing SK Batu Keling and SK Long Gang. “I understand that there is already a plan to set up a new primary school in Sungai Asap. We hope that it would be named SK Apau Koyan,” he grinned. “Hopefully, the project would commence soon.” Long Murum Like the Sungai Asap folk, the residents of Tegulang like Saran Joo are also resettlers. Saran likes his new longhouse, saying that compared to the unit in old Long Wat, the new place which is a unit within Saban Longhouse, is much better. “It got standard,” as he describes it. As many as 89 Penan families from the old Long Wat are now residents of nine longhouses in the new Long Wat resettlement.

Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB), in helping the community to slowly adapt to modern living, has been giving each household a monthly financial aid of RM850. Presently, the subsidy comes in the form of RM600 worth of food and RM250 cash. Tubau The Tubau folk are looking forward to be included under the new constituency of Murum. Longhouse headmen Joshua William, Lichong Along and Ballrully Kenai hoped that with Tubau becoming part of Murum, the place would receive the spillover effect from the development in Baleh and Belaga. “It’s a new constituency (Murum) and we hope that by being part of it, development would come to our area. Moreover, we would like to see Tubau Bazaar to become as vibrant and thriving as Sungai Asap Bazaar,” he said.

Well-educated community leaders Umek (right) and Saging (left) with fellow Sungai Asap residents.


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An aerial view of Kapit town, taken from the helicopter. BUKIT Goram should be the recipient of the spillover from the development that has been taking place in Pelagus — the state constituency from which it was carved out of. However in terms of electorate, it has the largest number among the three constituencies under Kapit parliamentary area — at a total of 11,827, versus Pelagus’ 7,207 and Katibas’ 9,692. Geographically, it covers the namesake Bukit Goram, Sungai Melipis up to Sungai Seranu of Rajang River, Sungai Ulu Yong, Sungai Sesibau, Kapit town and Bletih. Geographically, Pelagus and Bukit Goram encompass a huge landmass comprising mostly rugged mountainous terrains. These areas are home to some 550 longhouses and villages but they have lowdensity and scattered population — an average of three person per square kilometre. Generally, the constituents are glad that about 70 per cent of Sarawak Budget 2016 would go for rural development but they still feel that as a whole, Kapit remains lagging compared to other divisions. For local community leader Penghulu Esit Nalo, a Bagatan from Rumah Seking in Nanga Merit, the ‘key ingredient’ in allowing more developments to come in is the steadfast willingness and commitment of the people’s representative. “The government has done so much to help rural folk and it seems that it (government) has been going all out in disseminating information about the policies to us (rural people). “The rural folk of today have better political awareness than before — we want action and results. Our main concern is to have improved basic infrastructure and amenities to uplift our quality of life. “Having said this, we want our elected representative to work, instead of ‘makan gaji buta’ (earning undeserved salaries),” he says.

Bukit Goram, Pelagus and Katibas: Focus on better connectivity The government has done so much to help rural folk and it seems that it (government) has been going all out in disseminating information about the policies to us (rural people). Penghulu Esit Nalo, local community leader

PENGHULU ESIT NALO

KAPITAN KONG CHAK HEE

For Pelagus, Esit highlights several issues that need to be addressed. For one, he mentions the construction of roads from Belaga to Nanga Tulit, from Nanga Merit to Kapit town, as well as between Tatau, Sangan and Nanga Merit. Additionally, he also calls for the appointment of a state administrative officer (SAO) for Nanga Merit Sub-District and the setup of a secondary school to cater to the rural students. During a recent visit to Belaga, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that the RM170-million Jalan BelagaNanga Merit would be constructed under the ‘Jiwa Murni’ programme

— a collaboration with the Royal Malaysian Army. It has commenced this year and expected to be ready by 2019. Meanwhile, Kapitan Kong Chak Hee discloses the setup of Kapit Chinese Community Leaders Association, chaired by Temenggong Tan Kian Hoo. Its members include the leaders of the community including the Pemanca, Penghulu and Kapitan — with the aim of forging closer rapport between the Chinese and the government. “It’s untrue to say that the Chinese don’t support the government. We all want development and our main concern is to correct this misperception.

“We know that the government could do more for the ‘rakyat’ (people).” Nevertheless, Kong says there is a lot more to catch up as far as Kapit is concerned. “Kapit in under SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy)’s radar. As such, there should be a proper skills-training centre for our youths, some of whom are not academically-inclined. Such technical or vocational institution can provide proper training to our youths so that they would be ‘armed’ with the skills and technical know-how, exposing them to viable job opportunities. “Also, we need to boost the manpower in Kapit Hospital. We need senior medical officers, surgeons and physicians so that our patients would not have to be referred to Sibu Hospital — a process that is both time-consuming and costly.

The Bletih State Complex that houses all state government departments.

Physical developments  The ongoing RM700 million Jalan Kapit-Song-Kanowit road project, scheduled for completion by 2018, would realise the local folk’s dream of being connected with other major towns and cities across the state. Currently, it takes up to three hours to reach Kapit via boat ride from Sibu, or five hours from Belaga along the mighty Rajang River. The major existing roads in Kapit are as the following: Melekun-Nanga Gaat (Phase 1) spanning 16km, Bukit Goram-Nanga Yong (16km), Selirik (10.3km), Lepong-Baleh (7.4km), Rumah Kuta-

Ugap-SK Rantau Panjai (6.6km) and Ulu Sungai Kapit (6.2km).  Kapit is rich in natural resources. The timber industry provides the majority of employment opportunities to the locals, followed by coal mining in Nanga Tulit opposite Nanga Baleh. Commercial agriculture, however, is underdeveloped due to lack of road connectivity. In this respect, the government has been encouraging landowners to venture into rubber and pepper planting to add value to their land.

The coastline splendour that is Mukah THIS coastal area used to rely on fisheries and sago palm as its main economic activities but now, it focuses on commercial farming and energy-intensive industries — thanks to Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). Mukah is benefitting from the massive capacity of energy powered via hydroelectricity and coal, which generate the aluminium processing in Balingian. The people across this land, which encompass the state constituencies of Dalat, Tellian and Balingian, are the recipients of the job opportunities opened up by aluminium-processing and coalfired plants. The rate of growth is expected to become more vibrant upon the completion of Mukah’s new airport and the highly-anticipated Pan Borneo Highway. Such progress also goes beyond physical development. Today, Mukah houses Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), its own polytechnic and also Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) — all aimed at producing quality skilled human capital for the future Culturally, Mukah hosts the annual Kaul Festival — a traditional celebration of the Melanau that has been running for generations. The event has been drawing in tourists from near and afar — adding tourism to its list of key revenue generators. Speaking of tourism, a plan has been proposed to build Mukah

The bird’s eye view of UiTM Mukah, the next full-fledged campus in Sarawak after UiTM Kota Samarahan.

The Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) headquarters building in Mukah, which is regarded as the administrative and operational hub for SCORE.

Riverfront to attract more visitors. On infrastructure, the road network in Mukah has improved over the years, with the coverage in Balingian reaching 95 per cent while the coverage of water and electricity supply is around 80 per cent. Dalat has also shown commendable socio-economic progress, which focuses on youth, welfare and education. The Dalat Education Foundation, for example, provides the aid to students there who are pursuing tertiary education — RM1,000 for university level, and RM300 for

Mukah town, that the need for a fire station is overlooked.” For Hatiaah Sepawi, 57, she is very encouraged by the government’s focus on empowering the womenfolk across the constituencies. “Courses and workshops such as those on tailoring, beauty and makeup, Kek Lapis making and cooking have been conducted to help the local womenfolk generate extra income. “Such programmes help to empower women here, in that many strive to help supplement their household earnings

college/institute level. Moreover, many villages across Dalat have their own futsal turfs, while upgrading works on various basic infrastructures have been implemented, with some more to come. Dalat also have quite a number of ‘Komuniti WiFi’ — a programme that highlights the importance of knowing, learning and harnessing the Internet and telecommunication. All the benefits enjoyed by both constituencies should also spill over to Tellian — a new area carved out of Balingian and Dalat.

This newly-created area spans across Mukah town and some parts of Dalat. Nevertheless, there are a few things that would make the folk in Balingian, Dalat and Tellian happier than they are now. “We have been benefitting from so many things. Life is quite comfortable for us,” says Sait Seman, 54, of Dalat. “However, it would be better if Dalat have its own full-fledged Fire and Rescue station. We already have the rest — hospital, police station and other agencies. Maybe it’s because we’re so near to

without sacrificing their responsibility in raising families,” she says. For Balingian, it appears that the development is balanced there but there’s a need for it to have its own secondary school. Local resident Iskandar Mohd Ali, 53, who is from Kampung Suyong, comments: “Students in Balingian have to travel 60km — a two-way journey that could take up to two hours — to attend school in Mukah town. “Having our own secondary school would relieved these students and their parents of this burden.”


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Rumah Muna in Kejaman, along the banks of Baram River, would be connected with Miri via road with approval of funds from the state government.

Marudi poised to take the great leap forward THIS rural constituency — home to various ethnic groups — has undergone extensive development in recent years with the implementation of infrastructure works such as water and electricity supply projects worth hundreds of millions of ringgit. Many longhouses and remote villages, which were once only accessible via river, are now connected by roads — although this infrastructure remains a challenge. Regardless, this network has transformed the socio-economy of the communities there, and also enabling the installation of electricity supply from the grid system via the state’s Rural Electrification System (RES). The most significant road project having been implemented would be the 70km Miri-Marudi Road, which cuts travelling time between the two points to two hours. This project was completed under the army’s ‘Jiwa Murni’ – one of the key points outlined in the National Blue Ocean Strategy. Prior to that, the only way to get to Marudi town from Miri was via river — an arduous, and needless to say inconvenient, two-andhalf-hour trip that at times, could be dangerous when the river got swollen due to heavy rain. However at one time, the new land route was facing deterioration, making it almost impassable to

would no longer be at the sole mercy of private collection centres manipulating the prices and weighing,” he said.

JOSHUA DUNGKONG

We would no longer have to travel all the way to Marudi town for government matters, and this would help locals save money and time. Joshua Dungkong, local councillor

vehicles. The state government, in rectifying the problem, approved a budget of RM77.4 million to repair and realign the route. The project is near completion, after which travelling time between Marudi and Miri would be reduced to just one hour.

The realignment and upgrading works on the Miri–Marudi Road is still in progress. Upon completion, the newly-improved stretch should be able to cut the travelling time between Miri and Marudi to only one hour. Delegation of administration The administration of the vast constituency was boosted by the creation of Beluru District, which eased the administrative congestion at Marudi District Office. Local councillor Joshua Dungkong of Bakong said he hoped that more government departments and agencies would be set up at the Beluru District administrative centre once it was built. “We would no longer have to

travel all the way to Marudi town for government matters, and this would help locals save money and time,” he said. Agriculture is the main industry in this rural constituency and as such, funds have been brought in from the National Farmers Organisation for various agricultural programmes as well as the setup of a proposed oil palm mill for smallholders in Sungai Laong, Bakong.

The projected cost of the mill was between RM40 million and RM50 million, and RM 5million worth of shares would be allocated to the smallholders for their participation in the venture. Joshua said he was also looking forward to the implementation of the oil palm mill, slated to be the first venture in the state offering smallholders the chance to own equity stakes. “With the mill, smallholders

Deserving of more recognition However, some Penans — among the smaller groups within the large, multi-racial population of this vast constituency — felt that they should be given more say in managing their own affairs. Longhouse chief Wen Mengelit of Lapok would want greater government’s recognition being accorded to his fellow Penan community leaders in Tinjar, just like those given to the Penans in Ulu Baram and Belaga. “We hope that a Penghulu would be appointed for the Tinjar region as we face difficulties of having to fork out a lot of money to travel to Ulu Baram, just get our documents endorsed by a Penan community leader there,” he lamented. In response to this request, a proposal was forwarded to the state government last year, on appointing a Penan Penghulu to serve the community in Tinjar. Taking into consideration of various factors such as the number of projects having been implemented with many more in the pipeline, Marudi is poised to take big leap forward in development — for the constituency, the best is yet to come.

Telang Usan — Of telco, roads and utilities

Bario, a sub-district in northern Sarawak, is part of the new Mulu constituency.

Spillover effect for Mulu THE new constituency of Mulu, which was carved out of Telang Usan and Ba Kelalan, covers the Kelabit Highlands which includes Bario down to Upper Baram and Poyut in Marudi town. It is expected to benefit from the many other infrastructure projects ranging from village roads, community halls, jetties, clean water supply and solar electricity slated

for Long Bemang, Long Buang, Long Tujang, Long Seridan, and Long Banga. For Councillor John Terawe, it does not matter from which group the elected representative comes from, as long as the individual is accepted by the electorate. “The people’s wish is generally to have good economic development through tourism and agriculture to combat poverty.

“We also would want better water and electricity supply coverage, along with other basic amenities,” he says. John also highlights the need to have balanced development and so far, he is happy that the state government has done a good job in cracking down illegal logging and conserving nature. Still, he believed that it would be even better if the elected

representative could go on to become an assistant minister, who can better serve this remote constituency, stretching from Bario to Marudi. For local community leader Bujang Long, the people in Mulu want a leader who really understands the problems faced by them and who is willing to regularly go to the ground to listen to their needs, as well as become their voice.

THE call upon the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to pay due attention to the telecommunications (telco) needs of rural Sarawakians is welcoming news for the Telang Usan folk. It is indeed a breath of new hope. Wan Egau, 54, who hails from Long Selawan in Ulu Baram but is now working and living in Miri, says a telco tower was built in their village a few years ago and did work for a while. “Even though I only go back (to Long Selawan) several times in a year, I believe my village needs to have a fully functional telco tower. “It would make communications via phones or Internet much easier for us, especially those living in the remote parts. A similar tower was also erected in Long San in July 2014, but without transmitter. Former Baram district councillor Anthony Lawai Karing, 76, highlights this issue. “How can we use the telecommunication service if it (telco tower) is without a transmitter?” he questions. Anthony said many villages in Baram have telecommunication towers, but most are not functioning. Call for better roads, water and electricity supply Apart from the needs for better telco services, many Baram folk — over 20,000 of them, the majority of whom are Orang Ulu — also want better roads, as well as wider coverage of clean water and

electricity supply. Fifty-five-year-old Nawan Luhat, a constituent of Long Atip in Baram, truly hopes that whoever to become their representative would pay full attention to the needs of the people. “The gap between all rural constituencies, not only in Baram, and the urban ones has to be narrowed down steadily. “We are all citizens of Sarawak and Malaysia; so none should feel as if they’re being marginalised or underprivileged,” he says. Sharing the same view with Nawan is Helen Jok, 36 of Long Bemang. She points out that each longhouse and settlement in Baram, in particular Telang Usan, needs to be involved in the development of the whole of Baram. “We realise that Baram is still behind when it comes to the basic needs such as clean water, electricity and also roads. As voter in Telang Usan, all I wish for is for the government to give us comfort in our own longhouses through the provision of these basic necessities.” Helen notes that the state government has approved a solar project in the village and it is now under construction. She hopes that the project would progress successfully. “Apart from these three basic facilities, we also want the government to look into the needs of upgrading our schools — some are already in dilapidated conditions,” she highlights.


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Lawas to experience vibrant

progress going forward MANY Sarawakians know Lawas as a region known for ‘ikan tahai’ — a variety of smoked fish that is easily available there. As a district, it encompasses a land area of 3,811km² that shares the borders with Sabah and Brunei, and with a population of over 40,000. It spans across Merapok, Kuala Lawas, Lawas Damit, Kampung Punang up to Kampung Awat-Awat and Sundar. Lawas can now boast of having a host of developments and facilities, on par with other emerging towns across the state. It is already known as the supplier of vegetables, meat, rice and spring salt to Sabah and Brunei— thanks to its near proximity to the two. It is expected that Lawas would experience vibrant progress going forward with a host of soon-tobe-commissioned projects such as the new Lawas Airport, Lawas Hospital, Lawas Mall, the second instalment of Lawas Riverfront development followed by those to be implemented in Sundar, AwatAwat and Punang, the district police station, a skills and technical institution as well as welfare programmes. Ba Kelalan: Home of the highland folk As a parliamentary area, Lawas comprises two state constituencies—Ba Kelalan and Bukit Sari Ba Kelalan stands as among the most remote, but also the most scenic, among the constituencies in Sarawak. It spans across the outskirts of Lawas up to Ba Kelalan

Highlands, sharing the border with East Kalimantan in Indonesia. It is home to just over 7,000 voters, the majority of whom are the Lun Bawangs. For this community, family ties and religious faith trump politics, especially the former. There have been instances where familial bonds had strong bearing on the outcome of the polls. A member of the community, Penghulu George Sigar Sultan of Long Langai, said the local folk would certainly want better telecommunications, treated water and uninterrupted power supply, as well decent roads to come to their areas over the span of the next five years. Hopefully, the emphasis on rural development would help to realise this wish. “We also need a secondary school in Ba Kelalan, and also a proper border town. We also want to have wider telecommunication coverage — one that would include more villages.” Bukit Sari: Enjoying fair share of development In last year’s redelineation exercise, Bukit Sari had a number of areas being relocated into Ba Kelalan’s electoral boundary, namely Kampung Muncu, Undop, Limpaki and some parts in Trusan. Such move was made due to the creation of Mulu, a new state constituency under Baram parliamentary area. As far as development is concerned, Bukit Sari seems to have been enjoying its fair share in the fields of socio-economy, education, basic amenities and people’s welfare. People’s housing has been a focus through new land surveying initiative and also extension of villages, while the ‘Rimbunan Kasih’ programme has been launched in Merapok and the outskirts of Sundar. Specifically, the programme

A panoramic view of Lawas Riverfront.

is aimed as a catalyst for the fishermen community of Awat-Awat and Sundar for them to be more driven and successful. Those in Pantai Punang also stand to benefit from the artificial reef project launched there. On social side, the facilities at Lawas Sports Complex in Banting would undergo ongoing upgrades to accommodate the future holding of sports events, including folks games like buffalo race and ‘gasing’ (top) challenge. Other infrastructures include good road network, shophouses in Merapok, the ferry service at Batang Lawas, the transformation of Trusan as a transit town for those travelling to and from Brunei. Moreover, the state government last year announced an allocation of RM260.7 million for the enhancement of the treated water supply project including replacement of pipes in Lawas town and Sundar-Awat-Awat; RM50 million for the Jalan Lawas-Long Sukang road project; as well as upgrading works on Jalan Trusan boosted by the commissioning of Briwan development project (RM11.2 million) dan Desa Long Tuan Development Centre (RM3 million). Under Budget 2016 last year, the federal government had also set aside RM29.2 billion for Sarawak and RM16.1 billion for Sabah towards Phase III of the Pan Borneo Highway project, spanning 96km from Tedungan Merapok-Sindumin and Limbang-Lawas – to run between mid-2018 and mid-2023. Upon completion, that section would cut travelling time between Tanjung Datu and Lawas from 19 hours to 12 hours. A mini service centre in Merapok that houses several department offices has also been built to cater not only to the people of that area, but also those from Kuala Lawas. It is also the hub for the local cottage and downstream industries.

We also need a secondary school in Ba Kelalan, and also a proper border town. We also want to have wider telecommunication coverage — one that would include more villages. Penghulu George Sigar Sultan of Long Langai

The ferry service in Kuala Lawas.

Rearing of buffaloes is synonymous with the Lun Bawangs of Ba Kelalan.

An artist’s impression of the RM150-million Limbang Bridge.

Limbang gallops towards greater heights LIMBANG is a unique place in that people, including Sarawakians, have to use passport to go in and out of it.

It is sandwiched between Brunei and the sultanate’s Temburong District. As a parliamentary area, it has two state constituencies — Bukit Kota and Batu Danau. Limbang is a melting pot of people and cultures, largely attributable to its location near Brunei, Labuan, Lawas and Sabah. The trademark Limbang Festival

draws tens of thousands of people every year. In Batu Danau, the buffalo race never fails to become the highlight of the annual Babulang Festival. In Bukit Kota, it has been hosting many sports events — whether those run on land or in water. Physical developments: Past, ongoing and future  Opening of RM21-million Friendship Bridge in Pandaruan — a landmark of MalaysianBrunei cooperation and the

The iconic buffalo race in progress — the highlight of the annual Babulang Festival.

piece to the Pan Borneo Highway jigsaw; and extension of opening hours at the CIQs from 10pm to midnight.  Launch of RM150-million Limbang Bridge project, aimed at reducing the travelling distance between Limbang town and Brunei’s Bandar Seri Begawan from 50km to 20km; and travelling time to 45 minutes. Currently, travellers must pass the Tedungan Customs, Immigration and Quarantine

(CIQ) Complex and Batu Danau region.  Road-linking of Pangkalan Rejab Buang Abai, Meritam and Jalan Ipai Pendam projects.  Proposed halal food production in collaboration with Brunei, via government-to-government (G2G) arrangement. People’s wishes Ibrahim Tapa: “The people of Limbang look forward to the momentum of progress, as there is much to be done. We want to

see accelerated development, particularly when the Limbang bridge project is completed. To offset the higher cost of goods and services and also to attract more people to Limbang, I hope that the government would consider making Limbang a duty-free port, based on its strategic location.” Hasan Aramin , 44, of Kampung Sayung: “I look forward to witnessing the implementation of 1Malaysia Night Market in Limbang

in 2016, as well as the upgrading of Limbang Tamu Market, schools, roads and other infrastructures.” Jun Silah, local leader: “The constituents would wish for more funds from the government to this rural constituency (Batu Danau). Batu Danau can look forward to having more areas being connected with water and electricity supply, as well as being the recipient of other infrastructure developments, including repair works on schools.”


Sunday, May 1, 2016

S P E C I A L S UP P L E M E N T

KEY POINTERS ON SARAWAK STATE CONSTITUENCIES MUCH attention has been given to Sarawak of late, not solely because it is due to hold its election soon, but also the creation of new constituencies — all gazetted last year on Dec 18, and came into full force on Dec 19. The following information shows the number of electorate in each of the 82 constituencies, with a graphic highlight on the new 11.

N.13 Batu Kitang 17,494 voters

N.18 Serembu 9,065 voters

NEW CONSTITUENCIES

N.78 Mulu 8,600 voters

N.70 Samalaju 13,251 voters

N.57 Tellian 8,914 voters

N.17 Stakan 14,846 voters

N.40 Kabong 9,287 voters

N.63 Bukit Goram 11,510 voters N.26 Gedong 7,087 voters N.66 Murum 8,242 voters

N.23 Bukit Semuja 13,365 voters

N.01 Opar 9,714 — voters

*N.19 Mambong — 17,467 voters

N.36 Layar — 9,094 voters

N.52 Dudong — 29,028 voters

N.71 Bekenu — 12,250 voters

N.02 Tasik Biru — 17,041 voters

N.20 Tarat — 16,391 voters

N.37 Bukit Saban — 8,897 voters

N.53 Bawang Assan — 18,340 voters

N.72 Lambir — 17,533 voters

N.03 Tanjong Datu — 9,899 voters

N.21 Tebedu — 11,521 voters

N.38 Kalaka — 7,327 voters

N.54 Pelawan — 32,233 voters

N.73 Piasau — 21,120 voters

N.04 Pantai Damai — 18,409 voters

N.22 Kedup — 10,370 voters

N.39 Krian — 11,959 voters

N.55 Nangka — 18,605 voters

N.74 Pujut — 26,202 voters

N.05 Demak Laut — 13,830 voters

N.24 Sadong Jaya — 6,749 voters

*N.41 Kuala Rajang — 10,256 voters

N.56 Dalat — 11,440 voters

N.75 Senadin — 27,874 voters

N.06 Tupong — 21,499 voters

N.25 Simunjan — 7,774 voters

N.42 Semop — 9,617 voters

N.58 Balingian — 7,967 voters

N.76 Marudi — 14,858 voters

N.07 Samariang — 18,250 voters

N.27 Sebuyau — 9,041 voters

N.43 Daro — 8,491 voters

N.59 Tamin — 14,948 voters

N.77 Telang Usan — 10,000 voters

N.08 Satok — 13,550 voters

N.28 Lingga — 8,988 voters

N.44 Jemoreng — 9,699 voters

N.60 Kakus — 12,953 voters

N.79 Bukit Kota — 16,437 voters

N.09 Padungan — 22,301 voters

N.29 Beting Maro — 10,474 voters

N.45 Repok — 20,263 voters

N.61 Pelagus — 7,186 voters

N.80 Batu Danau — 8,657 voters

N.10 Pending — 30,488 voters

N.30 Balai Ringin — 9,945 voters

N.46 Meradong — 16,882 voters

N.62 Katibas — 9,666 voters

N.81 Ba Kelalan — 7,375 voters

N.11 Batu Lintang — 28,105 voters

N.31 Bukit Begunan — 9,389 voters

N.47 Pakan — 10,322 voters

N.64 Baleh — 9,624 voters

N.82 Bukit Sari — 12,418 voters

N.12 Kota Sentosa — 25,761 voters

N.32 Simanggang — 11,472 voters

N.48 Meluan — 13,103 voters

N.65 Belaga — 7,096 voters

N.14 Batu Kawah — 16,991 voters

N.33 Engkilili — 10,682 voters

N.49 Ngemah — 8,899 voters

N.67 Jepak — 13,789 voters

N.15 Asajaya — 10,967 voters

N.34 Batang Ai — 9,492 voters

N.50 Machan — 10,947 voters

*N.68 Tanjong Batu — 19,674 voters

N.16 Muara Tuang — 16,186 voters

N.35 Saribas — 9,879 voters

N.51 Bukit Assek — 28,341 voters

N.69 Kemena — 13,991 voters

* The constituencies of Mambong, Tanjong Batu and Kuala Rajang are formerly known as Bengoh, Kidurong and Belawai, respectively. All information has been obtained from the Election Commission and is deemed as accurate at the time of printing. Designed by Hassan Abang Tofek

Sarawak Election 2016 Special Supplement  
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