Call for Belaga to have own district council

Ajang (left) and Bete showing the unmaintained road to Sekapang Piet, 3 km from Belaga town.

Ajang (left) and Bete showing the unmaintained road to Sekapang Piet, 3 km from Belaga town.

Land around Belaga town including the landfill area has been cleared to give way to housing development.

Land around Belaga town including the landfill area has been cleared to give way to housing development.

BELAGA: Belaga should have its own council to ensure effective public services and administration of the district.

Currently, Belaga, Song, and Bukit Mabong are full districts but their administration is still under Kapit District Council (KDC) which has 30 councillors.

Apart from the three full districts and Kapit District itself, KDC also has to administer the two sub-districts of Sg Asap and Merit.

Murum, now made a new constituency, is expected to be made a full district with Tubau as a sub-district under it.

Despite being the administrative centre for many districts and sub-districts, KDC however only receives a certain amount of allocation, like other councils across Sarawak.

To Belaga district residents such as Pemanca Ajang Sirek and KDC councillor Bete Lahang, such an arrangement was one of the main factors contributing to the backwardness and neglect of Belaga District for the last 50 years.

“With six districts and sub-districts under KDC and only one allocation to go about, how much can a district enjoy? Furthermore, with KDC in charge of so many districts, how can it deliver satisfactory public services to the people?

“We have been independent for more than 50 years. Look at Belaga town here. If this is what we have, what do you think of places further away from town?

“We have been neglected for far too long. If it is not for the Jiwa Murni Road linking us to Sg Asap, we will still be living in isolation, relying only on express boat services which have to pass through the dangerous and dreaded Pelagus Rapids.

“We have been very patient all these years. And as each year goes by, our frustration and anger are mounting. The people here are like a time bomb. There will be a time when the bomb explodes and that would not be good for the government,” a very frustrated Ajang told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Ajang’s rationale for Belaga District Council to be set up was to enable Belaga district receive its own allocation, rather
than sharing it with other councils.

He said the allocation will be used for administration, grass cutting, road maintenance, building of car parks, upgrading of markets and others.

“We are also paying the same assessment rates as those living in cities like Kuching. But unlike Kuching, we have almost no council service here. Everything is ‘semadi nadai’ (bare minimum),” said Ajang.

Meanwhile, Bete who also described the infrastructure and development in Belaga as “semadi nadai”, stressed that it was high time for Belaga to have its own council and due attention should be given to Belaga by the state government.

“We need more parking spaces, a civic centre, a mini stadium and a proper waterfront. We need the promises of the state government to be realised.”

Asked for some examples of unfulfilled promises, he mentioned the promises made by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem 20 years ago.

“I remember when Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem) was the Social Development Minister 20 years ago, he promised to build a mini stadium. Well, until now, we have not seen it.

“Then for the last 20 years, there have been plans to build Belaga Waterfront. At the moment, there is only green grass along the river bank,” said a disappointed Bete.

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