KUCHING: Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian was glad when he read of the announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem that the Baram Dam project would be halted indefinitely due to objections by the people in the area.
However, Baru said his gladness was dampened by Adenan’s words that followed, when he said that the people would lose out on development such as roads and other necessities.
“It appears that he was saying that development of infrastructure in Baram depends on the building of the Baram Dam. What about other areas where there are no dams to be built? Will there be no development as well?” he asked in a press statement Wednesday.
Baru, who is state PKR chairman, believed that development could be independent of dams, adding that the government should not use the rejection of the dam by the people as an excuse for the failure of the BN government to carry out development projects in rural areas.
“It’s a fundamental duty of the government to provide infrastructure and other amenities to all groups of people in the country.
“It is indeed disappointing that the people of Baram who have fought so long and hard to preserve their homes and livelihoods have been issued a subtle threat in this manner. I hope they will continue to be brave and stand their ground.”
At the very least, Baru said, the people should have the right to proper roads so that towns nearby are easily accessible, and they are able to avail themselves of the facilities in towns.
“It is a sad fact that after decades of BN rule, the roads in rural areas are still in appalling condition and some are not passable without a 4×4 vehicle. Many villages are still without basic amenities such as electricity and piped water.
“I have just returned from a visit to Long Panai, driving from Miri to Marudi to Long Panai.
“A mere six kilometres out of Marudi on tarred road, we came to a place called Rh Lansam, Sg Dabai, where there is no supply of clean piped water.
“What has the BN government been doing all these years? If they haven’t managed to supply water to a place so close to Marudi town, imagine what other villages farther out of town have to put up with.”
Baru said he had to agree with Bintulu MP and SPDP president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing that the incumbent Marudi assemblyman Datuk Sylvester Entri had failed the people of Marudi.
“There are rumblings of discontent that he has only shown concern for the people in his village of Rh Entika, where there is a huge water treatment tank and I have been told that a helipad is being built there!
“Perhaps the sub-standard roads provided by his BN government are not good enough for him to drive on.
“If it is indeed true that he is building a helipad in his village, it is but just another example of the warped priorities of the BN politicians and shows how out of touch they are with the people.”