Friday, December 2

Intensifying devt in Upper Rajang

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State sets up Urda to look into the growth of Kapit Division and some parts of Bintulu

Ismuni gives a briefing using the map as (from left) Masing, Abang Johari, Uggah, Nanta and others listen.

KAPIT: A new agency — to be named Upper Rajang Development Authority (Urda) — will be set up to spur development in Upper Rajang.

The new agency shall oversee the development of Kapit Division, which covers 38,000 sq km, and part of Bintulu.

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said Urda will be placed under Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) which is tasked to develop the whole of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

He made the announcement at a press conference after visiting the Kapit Development Exhibition at the Civic Centre here yesterday during his first working  visit to the division after becoming chief minister more than 100 days ago.

Stating that Urda is important to ensure people in the rural areas could enjoy the development implemented by the government, he said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing will be its chairman and Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi will be the deputy chairman.

Other members of the new agency include Deputy State Secretary Datu Ismawi Ismuni, Recoda chief executive officer Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot, Kapit Resident, Bintulu Resident, representative of Sarawak Energy Berhad, permanent secretary of Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Economy and permanent secretary of Ministry of Tourism.

Abang Johari said the area has huge potential to be developed, with the Bakun, Baleh and Murum hydro-electric dams sited there.

“We also have coal deposit besides large piece of land there that can be the basis for us to have modern agriculture.

Abang Johari (front, fifth right), Masing (front, fifth left) and Uggah (front, fourth left) with other leaders in a group photo at the exhibition.

“There’s a lot to be done including building infrastructure but we must have a master plan. Whatever proposals there are, I think we need somebody to coordinate various agencies for us to really implement the blueprint for this particular region.

“We decided to form Urda so that we have a systematic approach to the development here especially in terms of funds and for our long range plan for upper Rajang,” he told the press conference.

He added Urda will report to Recoda and the latter will report to him as the chairman of Recoda.

He said the state’s Rural Transformation Programme main cabinet committee would definitely consider the recommendations from the agency.

“As the chief minister, I will definitely support all development plans within this particular region.

“Of course, Development Bank of Sarawak will finance certain areas. This will hasten the growth in whole of Upper Rajang,” he said.

Among those present were Masing, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Nanta, Baya and Ismuni.