SIBU: Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh is pleased with the teamwork of the villagers of Sungai Bidut and neighbouring villages, in tandem with the government in community-building and rural development.
Because of this goodwill spirit, these villages have seen a total transformation of development by leaps and bounds in the past two decades as villagers work through Wong in a win-win situation with the government.
In another goodwill dialogue held on Saturday night, more than 100 villagers turned up to meet Wong for further discussions in community-building and upgrading of public amenities.
Wong, who is also the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, told reporters after the session: “I have recorded their requests and suggestions. The villagers have spoken mostly on the improvement of the roads, like repairing, widening and raising, and the upgrading of drainage system and public health issues.”
Wong assured the villagers that he took their views seriously and would fulfill their wishes and aspirations.
He said he has been working with them to maintain the culture of cooperation with the BN government.
In the 40-minute session, the villagers gave their views as Wong recorded them before explaining the development policy of the government.
A farmer also asked if the GST (in April) might affect them and asked if the government had plans to lighten their burden, as in giving them a rebate of sorts.
Wong said he would seek clarification with the Agriculture Ministry on the issue.
The minister said he was pleased with the constructive suggestions of the villagers, assuring he would continue working with them in goodwill and understanding.
Meanwhile, Sungai Bidut and its surrounding villages have attained a development virtually on par with the urban development of numerous villages in Sarawak.
The villages in Wong’s Bawang Assan constituency are now served by two major bridges across the Rajang River – Igan Bridge and Lanang Bridge, the longest river bridge in Sarawak.
One elderly villager told reporters last Saturday they had to take a motor launch to town on a journey of up to one and-a-half hours.
“Now, we can drive from town to our doorstep in 15 to 30 minutes,” he said.
After the dialogue, Wong had a fellowship meal with the villagers, along with political secretary to the chief minister, Pau Kiew Chuan, and woman Penghulu Ling Leh Eng.