BEKENU: Sibuti parliamentary constituency will experience continuous development given the active role played by grassroots leaders including youths and the people’s support for the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government.
In stating this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the government has a strategic plan to prepare Sibuti for digital transformation through development of basic infrastructure and amenities including rural water supply and telecommunication system.
Nevertheless, he called on all constituents to be patient and give the government time to solve all their woes.
“We are living in a digital society and we must keep abreast with the development of world economy based on digital. The state government has plans to transform Sibuti digitally but we need time to implement what have been planned, step by step.
“Give us more time as these will also involve lots of money, but I can assure you that we in GPS will fulfil all our promises,” he told Sibuti constituents during a town hall meeting with youths at Bekenu Community Hall here recently.
Abang Johari said the government is committed to upgrade and expand telecommunication infrastructure and high-speed Internet, including in the rural areas, with an allocation of RM1 billion.
“If we want to transform the economy of Sarawak with a vast area of land and a total population of 2.8 million people, we must transform our ways including digital Internet.
“We are using the Internet a lot in our lives today. Telecommunication towers are required to have Internet in the rural areas.
“Thus, the state government has decided to build 300 telecommunication towers throughout Sarawak this year. Another 300 telecommunication towers will be built next year,” he disclosed.
Internet connectivity has been of great concern especially among the younger generation, noted Abang Johari.
“With the Internet, it will be easier for us to connect with the outside world especially for those in rural areas,” he revealed, adding that the state government has also planned to upgrade Internet speeds in the rural areas to at least 150 Mbps, from its current speed of just about 5 Mbps.
On another matter, Abang Johari said the Sarawak government is allocating RM2.8 billion to address water woes in rural areas within the next two years.
He also disclosed that the Sarawak government has allocated RM47 million for a project to supply treated water to several villages and resolve water woes in Sibuti, so that people will have uninterrupted water supply.
“With the establishment of GPS, we no longer depend on KKLW (Ministry of Rural and Regional Development) at the federal level to provide funding to develop our water supply,” he said.
The Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) will work on designing the required water pipes throughout Sibuti.
The new piping system will channel water supply directly from Northern Region Water Board (Laku) water treatment plant in Lambir, Miri to Sibuti, he added.
Another hot issue discussed during the programme was the waste management problem.
Abang Johari said he will discuss with Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat and Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni to find a solution.
“The government will look at ways to solve trash problems and waste disposal issues in Sibuti including at Bekenu junction. We will ask NREB (Natural Resources and Environment Board) and local authorities here to discuss on the matter,” he added.
According to Abang Johari, the NREB is conducting a study on three ways of managing waste – dumping, incinerator and using technology to turn waste into dust.
“We have studied a lot of ways but everything needs funding,” he added.
He commended the youths in Sibuti for being environmentally conscious of the trash problem and wanted the worldwide issue resolved immediately for the benefit of the people.
He added that the trash problem was due to the irresponsible attitude of some communities that ultimately burden others and create environmental problems.
“The issue of waste disposal is a major issue and major environmental issues start from garbage. We must apply the culture to be more responsible for the environment,” he added.
Over 300 local youths attended the town hall meeting which also saw the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, State Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker and Mulu assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala, Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Youth Wing chief and Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu, Lukanisman and Ripin.