Speech by Chiew Chiu Sing ADUN N59 Kidurong on the debate of Motion of Appreciation on Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri’s Address on 24th of June, 2011 in the Sarawak State Legislative Council, Kuching, Sarawak.
I rise to take part on the debate of Motion of Appreciation on Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri’s Address which was so graciously delivered by His Excellency the Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri in this august House on Tuesday, the 21st of June, 2011
I stand here today, humbled by the greater support which I obtained during the 10th Sarawak General Election from people of all races in Kidurong. I am grateful for the trust that had been bestowed, and I am mindful of my role to serve the people not just in Kidurong but all the peoples of Sarawak, from this oldest parliamentary institution in the country.
So many had been elected to serve in this Sarawak Legislative Council in the past 144 years of the history of our Legislative Council. We have been able to carry on, not just because of those before us , but because of the people of Sarawak who have remained faithful to the ideals of our parliamentary democracy, in our strife for freedom, justice, equality and that, all deserve a chance to pursue our full measure of happiness.
As we continue on with our journey today at the start of the second decade of the 21st century, it has become more and more important to me that the government from this oldest parliamentary institution must do better in upholding our parliamentary democracy, to help our young men and women to find job at a decent wage so that they do not have to go so far away just to make a living, helping our businesses to survive and grow, helping us to get ownership that we can have and afford or a retirement that will be dignifying- etc etc because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
Let us be reminded that the success of our economy is not just on the success of a few big companies or foreign investments, but on the depth of the reach of our prosperity, on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart- not out of charity, because that is the surest route to prosperity for all. A nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous.
I mentioned about helping our people to earn a living, extending opportunity to every willing heart. But unfortunately, there had been much neglect especially with our women from the rural, trying to start their own little business to find a decent living here in the town.
All what many want to do is to sell some vegetables or food, so that they can earn some money at places where there are people around, in Bintulu they sell near Tamu, at the ABF housing beach, in front of the shops at MLNG Shop House near Fair Choice, Sg. Plan road side, outside the SK Kidurong , the open space in front of Sg Plan Shop Houses or even those at the Junction of the Bakun and Bintulu/Miri road and others.
These women sat for hours under the hot sun each days selling vegetables and sundries just to earn a few dollars. I cannot understand why the government cannot and had not been implementing more decent places, say, with a roof over their heads, or provide some fans for those at the Tamu, to let them do their businesses to make a living.
Life for them is already hard enough yet they have to face the constant fear of the enforcement officers coming ,chasing and snatching away their goods with no mercy, Or not even giving a bill of goods so taken, how would you feel when the things you try to sell is being taken away like that.
There is a Chinese saying, Women holds up half of the sky. Today in so many parts of the world, evidence has mounted that helping women can be a successful poverty – fighting strategy. Women are indeed a linchpin of development strategy.
Women starting business or working, contribute to the gross national product and when they made the money they help the education of their children, a brother or a sister, or younger relatives and when they have money to spare, they save their money and boost national savings rate. In a nod to the female chromosomes, this is called, ‘The double X solution ‘ in fighting poverty.
In 2001 the World Bank produced an influential study, Engendering Development Through Gender Equality in Right, Resources, and Voice, arguing that promoting gender equality is crucial to combat global poverty. UNICEF issued a major report arguing that gender equality yields, a ‘double dividend’ by elevating not only women but also their children and communities.
Longhouse folks living at 38 km from the Mukah town, near the Aluminium Smelting plant, in Mukah Division are experiencing health, environment and social problems . Nothing of this sorts of things ever occur to them for all their 20 odd years of stay there.
The longhouse folks there told me that when they go into their farms to find food, it is becoming harder and harder these days, their vegetables are not growing well as compared to the past, and when they try to sell them, people do not want to buy, and so, what can they do, they eat them themselves. Their fruits trees like the coconut, mango, star fruit and others are not fruiting well also like before.
Women staying in these longhouses, complain of dizziness, uneasy breathing, frequent coughing, pain in the bones and just generally not feeling well. The rain water which they are using have a different odour to it, bathing with it makes one’s body itch and drinking it could cause diarrhea to children. At times in the morning, smelly air would come gushing into their rooms not telling what they are breathing in over the night and day as well.
Bathing and washings in the ponds also causes much itching and when scratched, red dots appear over the body. One said that when the plant first started, fish in his fish pond also died. Today, there is hardly any more fish in there.
Longhouse folks there had gone in and out of the hospital about their suffering and medical people had come visiting them also but their problems still persists, nothing happens.
How can this be ? I mean the people had been staying there happily for so long already, and nothing like the above mentioned, has ever happened, but, when the Aluminium smelting plant is built, all is changed. Farms produce are not growing well, folks are not feeling well, water for use is becoming a bigger problem.
Government have to do something to help these people before things get even worst and whether the problems so faced by the folks there, is actually a direct result of the gas and water emission from the smelting plant. And to what extend is fluoride being leaked into the air.
If the answer is in the positive, like I have talked many times before in this Dewan about the ill effects of the aluminium smelting plant, shouldn’t the plant then be closed down pending further investigation, because we are talking increased production in the near future, from the present 50kt of aluminium ingot per year, to eventually 115kt per year, 2 times of the capacity now. And the greater problems that it will bring to the human lives and lives of the community of people in Mukah, plus also the implications that it is going to have on the people in Nyalau and Bintulu for the proposed few other aluminium smelting plants to be built at the Samalaju Industrial Park, Similajau, Bintulu. I know the eventual capacity of one of the proposed aluminium smelter is 1.5 million tons a year. That is 30 times that of the present Mukah plant capacity. And what about the capacity of the other two ?
The sweet promise that the the aluminium smelting plant which started about two years ago in the Mukah Division will create good employment for the local and downstream industries is not true. Most of the works there now are being done by people from other countries. There are no extrusion plants either.
Folks of Kuala Similajau who had been staying there since time immemorial, precious their way of life, the Similajau river and the sea. their precious their land , their culture and their civilization that they have wanted to stay on. Presently the river is giving them much fish and prawns and the bounty catches of fish and others from the sea, Kuala Similajua is giving them a living, had been giving them life.
They believe that development must benefit the people on the grounds also and we know that developments that harm the environment, land, water and life should not be implemented. There are so many developments projects which one can choose, let’s take the good ones. So the folks asked that the land near the bank of the Similajau river from the mouth of the river going in wards for about one thousand acres be earmarked to be Kampong Kuala Similajau.
In Sebatu, Suai and along the Bintulu/Miri road, many longhouses are still without pipe water supply. It is urged that, they be quickly connected with it. And I hope that this time there would be enough water trucks on standby to bring water quickly to these longhouse folks when they run low on water and this is not just for Bintulu only, but all divisions in Sarawak.
However there are some longhouses along the Bintulu/Miri road which have the pipe water supply, but the water cannot get up to their longhouses, like Rh Robert area, Rh Janting at the Mile 15, 16 Bintulu/Miri road and other places also. I therefore urge that the government to look into this matter immediately to resolve the situation.
Grid electricity supply is another thing. Some Kampongs and longhouses in Sebatu and the Bintulu/Miri road areas are still not connected to it.
The Suai road, leading from the junction at coastal highway near Niah going towards the Suai Bridge at the old Bintulu/Miri road need up grading and tarring. Let us be more caring for our rural also and give them a better road tar sealed and all. And let’s repair the holes on the roads, those that come off the main road, leading to the door steps of the long houses.
And what about the bridge over the Kerong stream for the Suai road, when is it going to get done. It is taking so long that even the access road at the side of the bridge is so damaged that smaller car can hardly passed at times.
During the May 2010 DUN meeting, I had raised concern on the extend to which beach development works at the Tg. Batu beach condominium is affecting the monsoon drain water flowing from the Assykirim area to the sea.
But during the end of last year there was a quite a heavy rain one time. The situation of the monsoon is then tested and it did not carry the water fast enough out to the sea, as had been supposedly slowed down by the embankment at the condominium beach development, as a result serious flooding occurred at places that had never been flooded before, like the road between Farly and Sing Kong super markets, Kpg Assykirin Ph one and Fortune park housing areas.
And would the Ministry let us know what is the present status of the situation as we would be approaching the monsoon rain again soon.
Big earth filling and other trucks, going through residential estates must slow down and make sure that they do not make a mess or damage the road badly. For example, folks at the MLNG Housing living along the inner 4 lane residential road (sorry no road name there) could actually feel the tremor in their houses, of the trucks passing by, not to mention of the dust and damage done to the road. The tremor had already caused hair line crack in the house at this early stage of the nearby sea filling works which could take many more years !
Similar problem is also true of the road from SMK Baru going down the hill to the Nyigu road.
The U turn after the traffic light near Sibiew Bridge, Btintulu/Tatau road, in the BBC Industrial estate, mile 5 B/M road is also damaged by the earth filling trucks, making it almost inaccessible for smaller cars. This side of the road there is often flooded, damaged and need urgent repair.
Talking about the road, folks travelling between Sibu, Bintulu and Miri on the old trunk road had been very unhappy with the road situation for a long time already. Many parts of the road are not only bumpy, of patches of repair and repair, causing much damages to ones cars, especially the smaller cars. The condition of the road is also making driving unsafe on this road.
Being the only road linking the whole state and with so much money being taken by the Federal Government from our oil and gas. The people feel that it is high time that giving us back a proper road or making the road into a 4 lane highway must be given high priority by the Federal Government. They have done some many many good roads in West Malaysia already, why can’t they do one good one here.
Land Owners of a large area of land of over 6000 sq. meter at Kampong Jalan Masjid, Bintulu are very concerned as their kampong land are going to be acquired by the Government for a Kampung Heritage Project.
They are weary because they have seen other private lands in Bintulu said to be acquired for public purposes though compensated, ended up for commercial buildings etc fetching in a lot more of the compensated price for the new owner.
It is therefore urge that whatever compensation to these land owners at Kampung Masjid, it must be reasonably and done with their interests in our heart also.
And with that Mr. Speaker. Thank you.