HDA chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (seated, centre) in a group photo with other committee members.
MIRI: The formation of Highland Development Agency (HDA) has brought many development and economic opportunities to Ulu Baram, particularly in Telang Usan and Mulu constituencies, according to Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau.
He said the rural communities in Ulu Baram were elated and optimistic that things would start to “follow in” into the interior and highland areas following the formation of the special development agency about two years ago.
“The idea and effort of our Chief Minister to form this committee to specially look into the overall development needs of the highland areas and her people in these two constituencies were very timely and most welcome.
“In less than two years from its formation, the agency has started to bear fruit with the building of the Integrated Highland Agriculture Collection Centre situated at Long Bangan-Long Beruang-Long Peluan, Ulu Baram. It is now in the process of starting economy-based activities among some selected longhouses within the HDA area of middle Baram,” he said in an interview with The Borneo Post yesterday.
Dennis said the formation of HDA under the Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) – the leading agency in the development of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) – promises an exciting time for the people and he is confident that with their active participation, the highland should experience new chapters.
Being one of the committee members of HDA, Dennis hopes the new federal government under Pakatan Harapan (PH) will see the core reason for the formation of Recoda, where HDA is placed; which is to map and put in place strategic short and long term planning in both economy and infrastructure at areas where it operates.
“Therefore, it is of paramount importance that PH government continue to support the existence of Recoda to enable all development agendas particularly the building of hinterland road networks within HDA area, especially
from Long Lama town to sub-district of Bario and Long Lama town to Long Iman, Ulu Tutoh,” he said.
Dennis revealed that the second route would provide an exciting way to move in and out of the world-famous Mulu National Park by land and boat while giving good road access to over 20 Kenyah, Kayan, Penan and Kelabit longhouses with more than 20,000 people along the proposed road.
“I guess we all do not wish to see development planning for the sole benefit of our rakyat to be delayed, put on hold or cancelled just because of the change in government or state and federal governments are not on the same page,” he added.
Dennis expressed his sincere thanks to the former Barisan Nasional government helmed by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for what they had done for Baram parliamentary constituency, in particular Telang Usan.
He said among the many good things Najib did for his constituency which brought betterment to the rural community were tar-sealing of Lapok road, fund for building new school block of SJK © Kee Tee Long Lama, fund for the upgrading of former logging roads in Telang Usan and Mulu and the mobile boat clinic.
“Living in a democratic country like Malaysia, we must be ready to agree with the majority choice and accept the new federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Pakatan Harapan government.
“Of course with the long list of election promises thrown to voters in the time leading to May 9 this year, we wish and are expecting the federal government to take steps to ensure we really experience the ‘Malaysia Baru’ as promised, especially for our rural community of Sarawak.”