Sunday February 24, 2013
New Baram township planned
By DIANA ROSE
LONG LAMA: Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud took thousands by surprise when he announced plans to create a new township.
More than 5,000 people turned up at the Pemimpin Bersama Rakyat event here as Taib spoke about Bandar Baru Telang Usan, roads, bridges and a new division.
By stressing the potential and placing Ulu Baram in the development plans of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), he created a buzz among Baram folk.
This sub-district is about 240km from Miri.
At the gathering here yesterday, Taib also witnessed the handing over of a land title from Land and Survey Department to SJKC Kee Tee, disbursement of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia and cash aid to 27 less fortunate people at Masjid Darussalam Long Lama.
Taib told the crowd that the time had come for Baram to be developed with detailed infrastructure, industrial and socioeconomic development planning.
He said Baram had gone through two phases of development — timber industry and oil palm plantation — which had impacted the people to a certain extent but still not enough to make educated Orang Ulu stay.
He said the creation of Bandar Baru Telang Usan would address once and for all the issues of district and sub-district budget, and rural-urban migration.
In fact, he said, the new township would be the potential platform for the creation of Baram as a division in the future.
This, Taib said, would include the development of the dam, which would spur the overall development of Baram with a focal administrative township of Bandar Baru Telang Usan, one of the three areas he described as the last frontier of development in Sarawak. The other two areas are Ulu Limbang and Kapit.
“I can assure you that this is achievable. We have done it with Samarahan when we started developing the area. It had only 5,000 people then. Today it has a population of 60,000.
“Similarly Miri has grown from a town of only 100,000 to more than 300,000 people today. We are currently developing Bandar Baru Samalaju, a jungle area, into a new township. We have proven that it can be done,” he said, adding it was important to ensure that an integrated plan to develop the township by 2030 was in place.
“We have the masterplan on the creation of Bandar Baru Telang Usan. We just need to finetune it.
“We need to repopulate Baram. We need to create jobs, build infrastructures and amenities in the area in order to lure all its best brains to come back and contribute to the development of the area.
“I am sure the educated people of Baram will not be deterred by cheap politics and swayed by cheap games,” he said.
Taib stressed that proper planning, team work, unity among leaders and the people were crucial to ensure that this “dream of a town” would materialise.
He reminded all the leaders in the area to put aside their petty differences and work together to create the new township.
Taib also pointed out that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s frequent visits to Baram and the approval of projects proved that he was sympathetic to the cause of the rural people.
“With that we must give him a big mandate. I want you all to promise me if you want development, want to change the look of this place, then vote for Barisan Nasional and give Najib a strong mandate to rule the country in the general election,” said Taib.
“Let the creation and development of Bandar Baru Telang Usan be the Orang Ulu’s fighting cause in Baram.”