Wednesday, April 4

Residents want 42-year-old road pledge fulfilled

Tun Abdul Razak first promised a road from Kapit to Kanowit 42 years ago. His son repeated the pledge during the last state election.

KAPIT: The calls for the construction of 71km Kapit-Song-Kanowit road are now getting louder and louder as the more than 120,000 Kapit people are waiting for the federal government to fulfil its promise made more than 40 years ago.

It was the then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak who made the promise to build the road in the presence of the Federal Minister of Sarawak Affairs (Tun) Temenggong Jugah Anak Barieng and the people of Kapit when he visited the town about 42 years ago.

Since then several promises had been made by federal leaders.

The latest promise came from Razak’s son and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak during the campaign for the last state election.

When announcing an allocation of RM90 million to construct phase two of the road, Najib said: “I want to help Kapit people. I just consulted the Finance Minister.

“I am the Finance Minister, so I must approve it. It’s not an empty promise. I will fulfil it,” Najib was quoted as saying.

“My father (Tun Razak) was in Kapit 42 years ago,” he said.

Kapit is the only town in the country that is not linked to any town in Sarawak. It depends on the mighty Rajang River as its main mode of transport where scores of high-powered express boats are plying from Sibu to Kapit, passing through towns such as Kanowit and Song and hundreds of longhouses.

After Najib had made the promise, more and more people came forward to demand for the speedy construction of the road.

Lack of development

Jugah’s grandson and the incumbent MP for Kapit Alex Nanta Linggi said in Parliament that “Kapit is one of the remote areas without road linking it to other towns in Sarawak”.

“I don’t want to paint a glowing picture of Kapit, because development is not there.

“All the development promises like the construction of a trunk road are yet to be implemented,” Nanta said, and warned that the Barisan Nasional might lose its rural constituencies which the BN regarded as its “fixed deposit” to the opposition.

State Land Development Minister and president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak James Masing also bemoaned the lack of road development in Kapit.

“We are far behind as we are not connected by road. Our aim now is for Kapit to be connected to the rest of the state by road,” he told businessmen in Kapit.

Indeed the construction of the Kapit-Song-Kanowit road has been the talk of the town following the promise made by Najib.

In fact, it is everybody’s dream to see a road connecting Kapit, Song and Kanowit being constructed, especially now when travelling along the Rajang River by express boats is no longer reliable due to the impoundment of Bakun Dam, which makes certain parts of the once mighty Rajang River shallow and are not passable by express boats.

“The government has been promising the people for the last 40 years to build the road,” said 76-year old Kapit resident Neo Eng Siew.

“I am already old. I just hope one day before I pass away Song will be connected to both Kapit and Kanowit.

Prioritise the road project

The latest to voice the people’s demand is Kapit Chinese Chamber of Commerce (KCCC) which wanted the government to prioritise the road project.

Its chairman Yong Hua Sying said: “Now or never. Strike while the iron is hot. During the walkabout by the prime minister on April 14 he announced RM90 million for the road project between Kapit and Song.

“KCCC welcomed the effort of the government to construct the road to link Kapit-Song-Kanowit and thereon to the rest of the state.

“The first phase of the tender was awarded to construct slightly less than 1.9km of road between Kapit and Sungai Yong. The tender for the second phase to construct 12km has also been called.

“Our stand is for the government to prioritise the road project so that 44km stretch between Kapit and Song could be done quickly,” Yong said.

He was concerned that the road project, if not done quickly, would affect voters who had been urged to remain loyal to the BN candidate.

The current MP for Kapit (Alexander Nanta Linggi) won the seat twice uncontested as the rakyat believed the government would do its best to fulfill their needs.

“We don’t ask for extra. Sarawak gained its independence about 50 years ago.

“On the day of independence, we have dreamt to have the road,” Yong said.

Added Neo: “How long more can the people of Kapit and Song wait?”

Source: Free Malaysia Today


Banting said...

Too many promises by BN ministers to construct roads to link Kapit with the rest of the world, but they were all empty promises to fish for votes in every election:-

a) In October 2009, Shafie Apdal said "Work to link Kapit to rest of Sarawak to begin next year (2010)." Now is the year 2012.
b) In April 2010, Taib Mahmud said the government had approved a total of RM200 million of rural water and electricity projects in Kapit. Have these projects started?
c)In April 2010, Manyin said RM700 million to get Kapit linked very soon.
d) Najib on other hand annpunced an allocation of rm90 million to construct phase II of Kanowit-Song-Kapit Road. Has this project been started.
e)In February 2010, Yong Khoon Seng said the long awaited Sibu-Kapit would be included as one of his major projects under the 10th Malaysia Plan which started in 2011. The year 2011 has lapsed but Kapit is still not linked with road.
Who else is going to make promise to build roads to Kapit comes GE 13, demons and ghost from West Malaysia perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Lat state election, PM Najib allocated RM10 million for construction and upgrade of Miri - Marudi road. I just came back from Marudi last week, believe me that pledge by PM still not insight.

Trust me, Kapit - Sibu road will not going to happen before 2025!

FairviewBetong said...

Dear all,

The key word here is SABAR. One must realise that the process to construct such big project requires many considerations.

The very fact that the ministers made such announcement only goes to show the government's sincerity in trying to help the rakyat especially the ibans in the interior - in this case a road linking Kapit to lower rejang area.

Just keep voting in the present BN government and your request for the road shall be considered. Afterall what is another five to ten years waiting compared to the 45 years you have patiently waited.

Remember to vote for BN in the coming election.

Thank you

Apai Semalau said...

Like father like son as the saying goes. Its an open promise by BN with no time set. Next time ask for date of completion in writing. Kapit residents will have to wait for another 42 years if they vote Bn once again. They never learn. A case scenario of empty promises by father , son and maybe grandson.......

Anonymous said...

FairviewBetong, no the key word is not sabar, it is "lying" sincerely to the people for 42 years and counting. Bakun is a huge project and they decided to make it happened in how many years? Maybe you are right, that 71 km will take 71 years to take off and hope you will be around still then. So you alone SABAR lah. The rest of us want to move on ahead even if we have to paddle up and down the mighty Rajang.