Pelawan rep demands sufficient funding to develop Sibu
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.