Kapit 'water front' project now under construction
Cost of living is one of the highest in Sarawak. Fish like “ikan empilut”, “ikan padi”, “ikan Labang” are now very expensive. Not to mention “empurau” which costs RM500 a kilogram, “tengadak” and “semah” cost between RM100 and RM300 a kilogram. Wild boar meat which was used to be a common dish in those days has now become a rare item. So are other jungle meats.
Fish like 'Ikan Empilut", "Ikan Padi" & "Ikan Labang" are now very expensive in Kapit
Prices for vegetables and jungle produce have also increased tremendously. Hotel accommodations and costs of houses have also soared up as a result of high costs of petroleum. A double storey house which cost RM250,000 per unit two years ago now costs RM320,000 and more.
On Sunday, Kapit is really packed with people and vehicles. It is said that there are more than 400 van “sapu” and 4,000 Kapit registered cars and several thousands other cars. As there are very little roads in Kapit, you can imagine cars and vans coming to the town, making Kapit the town of cars and vans.
Express boat is the only mode of transportation to Kapit
The people of Kapit put their blame on Dr. James Masing, Minister of Land Development for the lack of roads in Kapit especially a trunk road leading to other towns like Kanowit and Sibu. Masing, according to them, did not agree for the construction of the trunk road as there were no economic activities.
Actually it was not Masing who did not want the trunk road to be built. Like you and me Masing wants the road to be built. I am not defending him. As a loyal BN minister he has to toe the line. It was and now the State government policy under Abdul Taib Mahmud not to build the trunk road from Kapit to Sibu.
In a recent cabinet meeting, Taib argues that such a trunk road will make Kapit a “dead” town as everyone will not spend the night in the town. Secondly, the road has no economic value even though it will pass through literally hundreds of longhouses and will likely open up thousands of acres of NCR land for agricultural activities. And thirdly, the state government does not want the express boat and tongkang businesses to suffer.
But the State government will carry out upstream development and has in fact come up with a master plan which is part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy (SCORE). Three roads will be constructed: one from Kapit to Baleh dam and Putai which is about 56 km, another to Murum dam which is about 45 km and the third road to Bakun, another 68 km.
The construction of the roads, dams and other projects are expected to cost some RM 7 billion. Rumours being spread around are that the road to Baleh is allegedly given to Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), to Murum to Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and to Bakun to PBB.
Another road is being planned from Mukah to Nanga Merit, Ulu Kapit where there are coal deposits. These coal deposits are expected to run the only coal generated electric power in Sarawak. The mining of the coal is to justify the construction of nearly RM1 billion coal-generated electric power station in Mukah.
Although early this year, deputy minister of works, Yong Khoon Seng, announced that the trunk road will be built connecting Kapit to Kanowit and Sibu; initially the people of Kapit were happy, but it seems now that the proposal remains a proposal.
But the people in the interiors between Kapit, Song and Kanowit are just unlucky as they have to be contented with using rivers as their main communication and transportation. Can they wait for another 46 years for their dream road to be constructed? – The Broken Shield