Assemblyman invites private sector to spearhead economic development in Telang Usan

LOGAN SIBONG, Baram: The private sector is invited to invest and participate in the Long Lama Rural Growth Centre (RGC) to spearhead socio-economic development in Telang Usan.

Extending the invitation during the official appointment of Edet Bilong as the chieftain for Kampong Logan Sibong in Baram here on Saturday,

Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said, “We can’t and should not wait entirely for the government to initiate projects in the RGC. It must be partially private sector driven to speed up the process.”

“The private sector is welcome to initiate or form joint venture with government in development projects such as commercial, residential and office buildings that were planned in the Long Lama Rural Growth Centre,” he said.

The assemblyman said it was vital to inject development projects in Telang Usan in view of the rural-urban migration especially among the younger generation, the educated and intellectuals as there was no job and business opportunity to hold them back in Telang Usan.

According to a survey around 40 per cent of the population which remain in kampongs, longhouses and settlements in Telang Usan are mostly elderly and children and those working as farmers, jungle and river produce collectors and at logging camps.

“As there are nothing to hold them to work and live in Telang Usan, the other 60 per cent ended up working and living in Miri and elsewhere in the state and country including overseas.”

Fearing that Telang Usan or many kampungs and settlements may end up as ‘ghost town’ due to rural-urban migration, the assemblyman said it was important to initiate and invite the participation of the private sector to develop the Long Lama Rural Growth Centre.

The success of the RGC as an economic and administrative centre through private sector driven initiative would not only help to reduce rural-urban migration but would also speed up the development of Telang Usan into a division in the future.

The assemblyman also voiced out his sadness and regret over the people’s decision against the proposed Baram Dam which he described as an integral part of state government’s initiative in developing the Telang Usan new township.

Dennis revealed that the new township has been planned in an area between Julan and Apoh that has been earmarked as the economic and administrative area for Telang Usan.

However, after the people rejected the Baram Dam, both projects are now shelved while the government would concentrate on the development of the RGC.

“Without studying or looking the rationale and long term planning of the government, it is sad to see that the people blindly opposed the projects that will bring changes and development to both Telang Usan and its people. There is no intention of the government to kill the people and taking away their land through development projects,” he said.

Present at the ceremony were community leaders Temenggong Elizabeth Ding, Penghulu Hubert Lawai, and councillors from Marudi District Council.