Tuesday, 25 March 2014

‘Most longhouses have power, water supply’

Shafie (2nd right) speaking to the media after launching the rural electrification scheme (RES) at Rh Umin, Sg Liok, Balingian yesterday while Awang Tengah is seated 4th right. Seen from the left are: Yussibnosh’s wife, Elizabeth Nelson, Yussibnosh, Assistant Minister of Rural Development Datuk Julaihi Narawi and Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi.

BALINGIAN: Most of the Iban longhouses and villages in Balingian constituency now have access to electrify, treated water and good roads, disclosed Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

As such they had no reasons to support the opposition candidate whom he described as ‘outsider’, he added.

“BN is putting up a well qualified and experienced local candidate in the person of Yussibnosh Balo as our candidate. And if you elect him, he will surely be able to bring more development to your area.

“And since his wife is an Iban, he surely will assist you even more,” Shafie said when launching the rural electrification scheme (RES) at Rh Umin, Sg Liok, here yesterday.

There are around 3,800 registered Iban voters in Balingian out of the total 13,366 registered voters.

He added that the government had spent RM1.7 mill for the RES in the area which had benefited about 360 people from five longhouses. The longhouses are Rh Bangan, Rh Manggi, Rh Randi, Rh Kasit and Rh Umin.

He also revealed that the government had allocated some RM60 mil for basic amenities for Balingian state constituency from 2010 till 2015.

Shafie stressed that under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the Federal Government wanted holistic development in the rural areas.

“We will also implement ways on how to improve the livelihood of the people in the rural areas besides providing the basic amenities like water, electricity and roads,” he said.

Among the challenges faced by the government to develop the rural areas are the physical and geographical factors of the rural settlements in Sarawak, he said.

“Because of that we are using various methods how to implement basic amenities to isolated settlements especially to the longhouses. For instance, if we want to connect treated water to a longhouse which is hundreds of km away from the water treatment plants, then that is going to be very costly.

“So we are coming up with a new technology in water treatment which is using the ‘live-saver’ method where we treated water from rivers or ponds by using ‘nano’ technology,” explained Shafie. As for electricity, he said the government is now using sources from either hydro micro or solar energy.

“In some areas we even use wind turbines,” he said.

Shafie said he was confident that the people in Balingian would vote for the BN candidate in the coming poll slated for March 29.

“Balingian voters are a mature lot. I am confident that they will support us. The PKR slogan such as ‘justice for Anwar’ is not relevant here,” he said referring to the conviction of Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was convicted of sodomy by the Court of Appeal recently.

Shafie also supported the state government’s decision to bar racial and religious extremists from entering Sarawak as it would ensure continued stability and peace in the state.

Meanwhile Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment and Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said some 80 per cent of the state’s population in the rural areas had access to the RES and another 90 per cent had access to clean and treated water.

He disclosed that under the NKRA, the Federal government had allocated some RM1.7 bil to implement RES and another RM1.7 bilfor treated water. - theborneopost

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