3 JULY 2017
The report in today’s Borneo Post shows the appalling condition of the Ba’ Kelalan-Long Luping Road, and many stretches of the roads in Ba’ Kelalan are in a similar condition, reduced to muddy traps that even the buffaloes avoid, as shown in the photograph on the front page. Only a month ago, I highlighted the Ba’ Kelalan-Lg Semadoh road, which has also become just a mud track. It speaks volumes about the extent of the problem when even buffaloes, which normally like muddy areas, do not want to venture on to the muddy roads of Ba’ Kelalan.
The people of Ba’ Kelalan have been crying out for the government to build proper roads, but sadly, the response has been painfully slow. It is good that the people are now speaking up publicly. As pointed out by the villagers, they have to fork out large amounts of money to hire 4WD vehicles to travel on the road, and the road trip causes damage to the vehicles. More worrying is the fact that in cases of emergency, the trip is even more expensive and dangerous, patients have died on such trips to the Lawas hospital.
During the May sitting of the DUN, the Minister for Infrastructure Development and Transportation James Masing in reply to my question told the Dewan that RM1 mil had been approved for JKR to carry out the maintenance and repair works. He also said that JKR will identify the critical stretches along the road and carry out the repair works immediately.
Two months later, the only repairs being carried out still consist of filling up potholes with gravel, which are washed away by the rain in no time. Does anyone remember Seddie Sigar Surang who died last month in an accident when avoiding a pothole? The muddy tracks are obviously beyond even such patch-up jobs, and urgent rebuilding is necessary. The Federal Government should provide sufficient allocations for proper infrastructure, not only for Ba’ Kelalan, but for the whole of Sarawak.
Each time I bring up the matter in DUN, the answer is that roads are a matter under the Federal Government, and there is not enough allocation from them. I hope that the Lawas MP Dato Henry Sum will bring this matter to his bosses in KL, as Ba’ Kelalan is under his constituency.
It is extremely galling to read daily about the vast amounts of money siphoned in the 1MDB corruption scandal and the many government mega-projects of questionable benefit to the people when rural Sarawakians are still being neglected after 54 years of Malaysia. The only solution is a change of government at GE14. After all these years of begging, there is nothing more for the people to lose. Change we must.
ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan