Pelawan rep de­mands suf­fi­cient fund­ing to de­velop Sibu

The Borneo Post - - HOME -

WITH no new roads built in Sibu for the past decade, the town’s de­vel­op­ment has come to a stand­still, and David Wong ( DAP-Pelawan) is de­mand­ing that suf­fi­cient fund­ing from the state gov­ern­ment be al­lo­cated for Sibu to rec­tify this.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the state bud­get speech yes­ter­day, Wong pointed out that Sibu has not re­ceived suf­fi­cient bud­get since the state Bud­get in 2015, caus­ing the town to be cut out of de­vel­op­ment.

“In Sibu, there are two coun­cils - Sibu Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil ( SMC) and Sibu Ru­ral District Coun­cil ( SRDC) - which are tasked to pro­vide ba­sic ser­vices from pro­vid­ing street light­ing, dis­posal of garbage, clean­ing of drains, main­te­nance of roads and the gen­eral hy­giene of the town and res­i­den­tial dis­tricts.

“Yet the two coun­cils have failed to de­liver the very ba­sic to its peo­ple and hav­ing dealt with lo­cal coun­cils in the past, I know their predica­ment al­though I don’t sym­pa­thise with them.

“Their ba­sic prob­lems are the lack of funds which have made them un­able to re­spond pos­i­tively.”

Draw­ing at­ten­tion to the re­cently tabled state bud­get, Wong said SMC and SRDC only re­ceived RM1.5 mil­lion and RM1.8 mil­lion re­spec­tively.

In com­par­i­son, Bin­tulu De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity ( BDA) was al­lo­cated with RM215 mil­lion in fund­ing in the state Bud­get 2018.

“Do you think that’s suf­fi­cient for Sibu?

“Our lo­cal coun­cils have lim­ited chan­nels of fund­ing and the funds they col­lected from as­sess­ment rates and li­cences are def­i­nitely in­suf­fi­cient to pro­vide the ser­vices they are tasked with.

“Ig­nored and marginalised by the BN gov­ern­ment, the youths have started leav­ing their home­towns look­ing for em­ploy­ment else­where. Com­pa­nies are leav­ing for other parts of the coun­try and even over­seas,” he said.

In the area of de­vel­op­ment, Wong brought up the is­sue of se­vere traffic con­ges­tion in Sibu, and pro­posed that his ‘Sibu Outer Links’ new road plans would be able to in­crease con­nec­tiv­ity among the densely pop­u­lated and res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial ar­eas in Sibu while paving the way to de­velop low cost hous­ing hubs.

In eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, he said he was hope­ful that Sibu would be able to claim back its for­mer glory as the state’s tim­ber hub, but in a dif­fer­ent in­dus­try.

“We must seek other in­dus­tries to re­place the sun­set log­ging in­dus­try in cen­tral Sarawak and to bring jobs for the lo­cals and cre­ate a sec­ond eco­nomic boom for Sibu that will also spill over to the smaller towns such as Sarikei, Mer­adong, Kanowit, Pekan, Ju­lau and Se­lan­gau.

“I am talk­ing about the rub­ber wood and rub­ber-based in­dus­tries,” he said.

Wong shared that Deputy Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Amar Dou­glas Ug­gah had ear­lier this year, spo­ken on the need to set up a mas­ter plan for the lo­cal rub­ber in­dus­try, and said that tyre man­u­fac­tur­ers were keen to in­vest in Sarawak if the state had suf­fi­cient rub­ber plan­ta­tions to sup­port the in­dus­try

“He ( Ug­gah) said he was in­formed of this by the di­rec­tor gen­eral of Malaysia Rub­ber Board dur­ing a meet­ing, so I would like the deputy chief min­is­ter to ad­dress this au­gust House dur­ing his wind­ing-up speech,” Wong said.

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