KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has declared Bario a sub-district under Miri District.
The recognition was announced during the launch of the Nukunen Festival in Bario on Thursday.
The declaration represented one of many successful implementations by the state government that focus on rural development, as well as the narrowing of the economic gap between urban and rural areas.
“If you all support me and Barisan Nasional, I’m sure the federal government would listen and attend to our requests for state development, because we are united and strong. If we’re not, nobody would listen to whatever I ask. In saying this, the mandate from Bario is needed,” Adenan said during the event, where he announced a clean water supply project for the Bario folk and his nod for the Bario Sub-District Community Hall.
“For the request on extending the runway on Bario Airport so it could accommodate larger aircraft (larger than Twin Otter), I will discuss with Malaysia Airports Holding Bhd.”
Adenan said the state government would also discuss with the Public Works Department and Armed Forces on building a road from Miri to Bario.
Bario is a small town on the Kelabit Highlands – about 3,500 feet above sea level. It houses 12 villages and borders with Kalimantan, Indonesia.
The place’s name means ‘air’ in the Kelabit language, given its windy atmosphere.
Bario Sub-District, on the other hand, spans 4,228 sq km and consists of 47 villages, with a population of 7,513 comprising Kelabits, Penans, Sabans and Kenyahs. Bario was previously part of the Baram District, which was renamed Marudi.
Currently Bario has a police station, five health clinics, two army camps, two Agriculture Department stations, a secondary school, and a public library.
Previously, Adenan announced Serian as the state’s new 12th division; nine new districts, namely Tebedu, Pusa, Kabong, Tanjung Manis, Bukit Mabong, Sebauh, Subis, Beluru, Telang Usan; and new sub-districts Mulu, Long Bedian, Tinjar and Bario.
The Nukenen Festival has been held annually since 2005, attracting many visitors including those from overseas to visit Bario.
Adenan was accompanied by his wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu at the event, which also hosted his deputy Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, as well as Rurum Kelabit Sarawak president Datuk Isaac Lugun and his wife Nikki Lugun.