KUCHING: Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian is glad to know that Lawas MP Datuk Henry Sum had attempted to get some funds from the federal government to repair the Ba Kelalan road which is in a very bad condition.
Baru, who is state PKR chairman, pointed out that problems with roads in Ba Kelalan have been long-standing, and he had brought them up on numerous occasions in the press and in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN), to no avail.
“I was also glad to read that Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing had said that there is no political discrimination in infrastructure development, and that it is based on needs and availability of funds,” Baru said in a press statement yesterday.
He was commenting on The Borneo Post’s news reports yesterday –‘Residents running out of patience’– and Wednesday’s ‘Ba Kelalan folk in crying need of better road’ where the local residents were asking the ministers at both state and federal levels to find a solution to the damaged roads in Ba Kelalan.
Being a matter in the federal list, Baru said the federal government is responsible for implementing road infrastructure for Sarawak.
However, he said it appears that there has never been enough allocation for roads in Sarawak, as stated by Dato Sri Michael Manyin in December 2015 in the DUN: ‘… there is no real allocation given to us from the Federal Government…’
“Since all the above have been said by the BN ministers, I do not really need to point out again that the needs of Sarawakians are the lowest of the BN federal government’s priorities. We should not be surprised because Sarawak has always been considered the BN’s fixed deposit and most of the people have been content to put up with the empty promises of BN time after time.”
Baru welcomed the proposal by the timber company operating in the area to upgrade the road to R1 standard at a cost on RM35 million, as stated by Masing, and he hoped that the work would start immediately with repairs to the worst areas as shown in the news report.
“This will help to instill confidence in the people that this talk is not merely political rhetoric.”
In the meantime, Baru said there are other stretches of Ba Kelalan roads that need repair, such as the Lawas-Damit road, which is riddled with potholes, where a fatal accident happened last month when a motorcyclist swerved to avoid a pothole.
“The Minister had told the Dewan (DUN) in May that for 2017, a sum of RM3.6 million has been provided for the repair of critical stretches of this road and that the potholes will be tar-sealed to form a paved surface. So far there is no sign of any repairs yet aside from stones and gravel being thrown into the potholes.
“Realistically, although we hope to get better roads as our need is genuine and pressing, we don’t expect the federal government to pay any heed to us. After all, we know that the Prime Minister has plans to send whatever money the country has left to help make America great again. They have not responded to a Federal Deputy Minister’s ‘ample’ requests for help, and nothing is going to change unless Sarawakians show their displeasure at the ballot boxes.”
Baru said in the thrusts of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) manifesto which was revealed on Sunday, the third thrust is the promise to guarantee the right to equitable basic infrastructure and land development.
“We will ensure that the basic needs of every Sarawakian are met. Voting Barisan Nasional (BN) will be accepting the same shabby treatment we have been receiving from them. Sarawakians have nothing to lose by giving PH a chance.”
~ Borneo Post