TONGOD: Kuamut assemblyman Datuk Masiung Banah has expressed his gratitude to Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman and Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor in particular and the State Cabinet in general for approving the creation of the long-awaited Tongod District Council.
“On behalf of the people of Kuamut and Tongod which serves as the constituency’s administrative center, I would like to record my sincere appreciation to the State Government in particular our two beloved leaders for the approval on 19 April this year.
“After half-a-year of hard work and preparation, the Tongod District Council will finally become a reality on 1 January 2018.
“This indeed is a dream come true for my constituents, something that they have been hoping for since Tongod became a full district almost 20 years ago.
“To these two leaders, all I can say is thank you sir, thank you,” he stated.
Since its days as a sub-district previously, local government-wise Tongod has been under the Kinabatangan District Council situated more than 100 kilometers away. Becoming a full district does not automatically give it a district council status as there are certain criteria to be fulfilled, like population, facilities, amenities and the socioeconomic aspects including the council’s income.
Hajiji, being the minister-in-charge of local authorities (PBT), recently visited Tongod literally in the middle of Sabah to inspect preparations for ‘welcoming’ the new district council come New Year’s Day.
Masiung, who is also Assistant Youth and Sports Minister, said the approval showed the State Government gives equal emphasis to both urban and rural areas so that the latter is not left out in terms of mainstream development.
He also thanked the people of Kuamut including Tongod for standing behind him all this while as he fought for a district council for Tongod.
Masiung has since being elected Kuamut assemblyman in 2008 been lobbying for a district council. As a government back-bencher, he never stopped raising the issue whenever the State Assembly met.
Even after becoming an Assistant Minister after being reelected as Kuamut assemblyman in 2013 (and therefore could no longer take part in Assembly debates), he never stopped whispering to relevant State leaders about the matter and this was a fact acknowledged by even Hajiji himself during his recent visit to Tongod.
Masiung also thanked Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin for his co-operation and support in fighting for a district council for Tongod although it means that the Kinabatangan district council will become smaller.
Kuamut is one of the two State Assembly seats under the Kinabatangan parliamentary constituency, the other being Sukau.
“Out of respect for our MP, I will be discussing with Datuk Seri Bung on the nominations for the 18 would-be Councillors for the new Tongod district council.”
“We will not just be nominating politicians from the various BN component parties, but also professionals and NGO representatives,” he concluded.
Tongod is the largest district in Sabah in terms of land size and is bigger than most if not all states in Peninsular Malaysia. At the very least, it is equivalent to two or even three states in the peninsula.