Infrastructure development URDA’s main agenda

SECOND BOARD MEETING: Masing (seated centre) with (seated from left) Ismawi, Nanta, Wilson Baya and Ik Pahon, as well as (standing from left) representative from Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datu Haji Chaiti Haji Bolhassan, Joseph, Yakup and representative from SEB, Leslie Chai.

KUCHING: Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA) will focus on the infrastructure needs in the upper Rajang area, especially in terms of increasing the connectivity within this area of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

As such, infrastructure development was one of the main items on the agenda at URDA’s second Board Meeting, which was held at Regional Corridor Development Authority’s (RECODA) office here, today.

During the meeting, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing, who is Chairman of URDA, stressed on the importance of roads, particularly in opening up areas for economic activities such as commercial agriculture.

“Without infrastructure, nothing can carry on and that is why infrastructure is what we are focusing on today.

“Infrastructure has to come in first and that’s why the YBs (elected representatives) in the URDA area will give their input before the government agencies concerned conduct their lab to discuss on this issue early next year,” said Masing, who added the proposals would then be forwarded to the board of RECODA for endorsement.

Apart from that, he explained road infrastructure was also crucial in terms of ensuring the security of the URDA area, especially along the border.

Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development and Member of Parliament for Kapit Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, who is also Deputy Chairman of URDA pointed out that apart from the focus on road infrastructure projects, URDA would also focus on socio-economic programmes.

“Our objective is always people-centric. Infrastructure is the catalyst but we need also socio-economic and income-generating programmes.

“I support the development of the roads but at the same time, I would also like to focus on rural income generation programmes.”

RECODA Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot briefed the board on the various proposed road infrastructure projects for the URDA area, as well as the socio-economic projects, especially income-generation and “quick-win” projects for the communities in the Upper Rajang area.

He also briefed the board on the proposed organisation structure for URDA.

Also on hand to brief the URDA board were Land and Survey Department, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, and the First Infantry Division of the Malaysian Army.

Apart from that, heads of department and representatives from various government agencies were also on hand to brief the URDA board on the latest updates related to development efforts implemented in the upper Rajang area.

Members of the URDA board present at the meeting included Deputy State Secretary (Socio-Economic Transformation) Datu Haji Ismawi Haji Ismuni; Kapit Resident Joseph Belayong; Bintulu Resident Haji Muhamad Yakup Kari; Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Permanent Secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik; and representatives from Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development; and Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB).

Also present at the board meeting were Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang, Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon and First Infantry Division Commander Major General Datuk Stephen Mundaw.