Baleh Dam to be major game changer

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The newly-completed Baleh Bridge is located some 15km from Kapit Town.

The newly-completed Baleh Bridge is located some 15km from Kapit Town.

Gare (left) and Anyi show where the proposed 73km SCORE road would be constructed.

Gare (left) and Anyi show where the proposed 73km SCORE road would be constructed.

Passengers wait for a boat at Nanga Mujong jetty.

Passengers wait for a boat at Nanga Mujong jetty.

THE proposed Baleh Dam will be a major game changer for the area.

Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for Baleh, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing, who is the incumbent, said with the development of the dam would come greater development such as new roads.

“There is now every justification for the government to build roads from Kapit right up to the dam. This way, up to 80 longhouses or almost two-thirds of the whole of my constituency would be connected to the proposed SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy) Road, which is expected to cost a staggering RM1.4 billion to complete the 73km road including bridges,” he said.

There is also a proposal to build a road parallel to the SCORE Road, which would connect the present 16km-Mujong Road right up to Nanga Gat.

“It is my vision that when these roads including the much awaited Kapit-Song-Kanowit-Sibu Road are completed, we will finally be connected to the rest of Sarawak. But right now, we are just an island, which has been cut off from the rest of the state in the last 52 years,” said Masing.

Tuai Rumah Gare Timbang of Nanga Sempang Sungai Kain and Anyi Kumbong of Rumah Melintang, Sungai Gat, are looking forward to road links to Kapit for their respective longhouses.

“We have many wishes, but our greatest wish is for the road to be connected to our longhouses from Kapit.

“Then we will not have to endure any more hardship by pulling our longboats through shallow waters especially during droughts,” said Gare.

They also wished for better telecommunication and radio coverage to keep abreast with current affairs.

“Now even if we have radio, there is no coverage. And as a result of that we are just like the Malay saying ‘Seperti katak di bawah tempurung’ (like a frog under a coconut shell),” said Anyi.

Rumah Anding Nanga Sepung resident Sendi Kandau also believes road connectivity would bring much-needed change to the area.

“We have been waiting here for the past three hours for a longboat that could take us back home to visit our relative who has just passed away,” she said when met at the Nanga Mujong jetty.