SIBU: Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) must find ways and means to generate income for the construction of infrastructure in areas under its jurisdiction, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference after the installation of SRDC councillors at Tanahmas Hotel here, he said SRDC had a big area to look after, much of which were not quite connected by road.
He said many forms of infrastructure needed to be built, thus it would need financial assistance from the government.
“SRDC is a very big area, consisting of five constituencies. So it is a huge challenge for them. Among the things, SRDC must see how best to generate income,” he said.
SRDC covers five state constituencies – Dudong, Tamin, some parts of Kakus, Nangka and Bawang Assan.
Dr Masing noted that SRDC had yet to implement parking fees in its areas.
“The concept of user pay principle must also be applied to SRDC. The people in this area must learn that they cannot park their car for free,” he suggested.
He pointed out that the Sibu Airport which is situated in an area under SRDC is an asset to the council.
“Thus, SRDC must find ways to generate income from the airport,” he said.
He also expected SRDC to review its assessment rate.
“Assessment rate is paid on the current cost of that property, therefore, it should be reviewed and re-valued,” he proposed.
Meanwhile, in his speech at the installation ceremony earlier, he said the government would help SRDC provided there were requests from SRDC.
“SRDC cannot be independent. The area is big and needs a lot of funds to build infrastructures. The government will help, but you need to tell us what you want us to do.
“Give us proper proposals so that we are able to help you,” he said.
To the councillors, he said they should work closely with one another though they were from different parties.
“You are councillors therefore you act as one. You are the eyes and ears of the people,” he said.
Council chairman Sempurai Petrus Ngelai, meanwhile, said he would make sure all the councillors submit their monthly reports.
“This is to ensure that their performance will be on a par with the Local Ministry’s KPI requirement.”
Besides Sempurai and deputy chairman Robert Lau Hui Yew, SRDC has 30 councillors.