KUCHING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has agreed to a suggestion that Kapit Division needs a vocational college.
Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said he shared this vision of a technical institute with Najib during the PM’s visit on Tuesday.
“People of Kapit Division have given up a lot for the construction of three dams. And the power produced by the three dams will be used elsewhere. So it is only fair that we get something back in return,” the Baleh assemblyman told The Borneo Post yesterday.
“We hope a vocational college will be set up here to train our people so that they can participant in the construction of the Baleh Dam. We want to be participants of the mega project and not as bystanders.”
The hydroelectric power (HEP) dams in Kapit Division are the completed Bakun and Murum HEP dams as well as the upcoming Baleh HEP dam.
Upon the completion of Baleh Dam, all three would be able to produce a total 4,700MW of electricity to support industries in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
“With the setting up of the college, there will be no need for our youth to travel to Kuching, Miri or Mukah to seek vocational training. They can stay put in Kapit. This in turn will help parents to save money spent on their children’s education,” said Masing.
He pointed out that Kapit folk are forward-looking and open to change and development.
“They know that the building of the Baleh Dam is a game-changer as the construction of the dam will bring about the opening of roads, linking to other places. It is true. With the dam, the SCORE Road — an 80km road connecting the dam to Kapit will be built.
“And along SCORE Road, there are over 100 longhouses with about 10,000 residents. These people know that with road accessibility, the whole area will be open up for development,” he said.
Masing said the villagers are looking forward to changes brought about by greater accessibility.
“So apart from the vocational college, it is also the hope of the people affected by the dam to see electricity being provided for them after the construction of the dam. Sarawak Energy Bhd (the contractor of the dam project) must commit to ensure that,” he added.
At present, the longhouse folk along the SCORE Road still depend on generator sets for electricity, which is costly especially when the price of fuel is high.