Call for improved phone reception, coverage in Bario

Gerawat (second right) and others give their thumbs-up for Bario rural water supply project. Also seen are (front, from third right) Dr Rundi, Dr Abdul Rahman, Alice and Sherrina.

BARIO: A request has been made for the government to improve the telephone reception and coverage in Bario and the surrounding villages there.

Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat says despite having the 1Malaysia Internet Centre (Pi1M), which was declared open by Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Seri Jailani Johari early last year, the telephone service here is still problematic.

“It is difficult to make or receive phone calls. The surrounding villages previously had a telephone line (connection) – they no longer have it today.

“The villagers have to come to the Internet centre to make any call. They are requesting the government to upgrade the coverage and also the Internet service here (Bario) and other places within the Mulu constituency,” he spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony of the rural water supply project here recently.

Gerawat also appealed for the extension of electricity supply to villages with solar power to allow for 24-hour coverage and also 24-hour telephone service.

“The majority of telco towers in villages here including those in Pa’ Dalih, Long Banga, Long Peluan, Long Lellang and Long Seridan, are put up by the MCMC (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission).”

On the construction of the RM25-million water supply project, Gerawat said it would help to address the water supply problem that had been affecting the residents for years.

Construction works commenced on March 6, and should reach completion by March 2020.

The project includes building a water treatment plant located at Pa’Umor, with the raw water intake from Sungai Dappur.

The plant should be able to process 1.5 million litres of water per day, which would be channelled to a storage tank at Pa’Ukat before being distributed to longhouses and villages here.

It will benefit over 1,000 people from 13 villages namely Arur Dalan, Bario Asal, Arur Layun, Bued Main Beruh, Ulung Palang B, Pa’ Ramapuh A, Pa’ Ramapuh B, Padang Pasir, Kampung Baru, Pa’Umor, Pa’Ukat, Pa’Lungan and Pa’Derung.

“The project is a promise of former chief minister, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, during his visit here in 2015.”

Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi, Assistant Minister of Water Supply Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Ministry of Utilities permanent secretary Dato Alice Jawan, Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) director Chang Kuet Shian, Miri Resident Sherrina Hussaini, Miri District Officer Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf, Ceria Alliance managing director Thomas Hii Tiong Kong, , Rurum Kelabit Sarawak president Dr Philip Raja and advisor Datu Robert Lian Balang, and Penghulu Robertson Bala were among those present at the event.