BAU (June 13): Prime Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has responded to demands from Bidayuh elected officials to create a specific development agency for their areas from Lundu to Serian.
He announced yesterday the establishment of a new agency called Greater Kuching Coordinated Development Agency (GKCDA) to focus on Greater Kuching where the Bidayuh areas are located.
“I acknowledge the support of the Bidayuh. Your representatives took the floor in the State Legislative Assembly to ask for a special way to develop the Bidayuh areas.
“So today I want to announce that we are going to establish the Greater Kuching Coordinated Development Agency (GKCDA).
“I will study how this agency will operate. I will discuss with Bidayuh leaders to find a framework,” he said at the Bau Gawai 2022 open day yesterday.
In the recent session of the State Legislative Assembly, four representatives elected by Bidayuh; Serembu MP Miro Simuh, Tebedu MP Dr Simon Sinang Bada, Bukit Semuja MP John Ilus and Opar MP Billy Sujang had called on the Sarawak government to establish an agency to boost economic activities of the Bidayuh community , especially in areas along common borders with Indonesia. .
Abang Johari explained that this new agency is in line with the state government‘s strategy to accelerate development in geographically vast Sarawak.
“That’s why we have created so many development agencies. If you look at the peninsula which is about the same size as Sarawak, but it has many states and that’s why it can grow rapidly. We are big, but there is no state in the territory of Sarawak.
“So we created agencies like this to coordinate and focus on development.
“I heard what was said by the deputies of Bidayuh. I am inclusive, if we want, we can take care of it, we include an agency for Greater Kuching,” he said.
Later, when approached by journalists, Abang Johari said that the GKCDA model would be similar to that of the Samarahan Integrated Regional Development Agency (Irsda).
“The idea is that when we give them the development grant, they can coordinate the implementation of the project.
“The model is similar to Irsda. It is not a formal statutory body, it is just an agency that coordinates all the development projects that we have approved in this area.
“There are many projects that have been approved but the question now is the implementation. In this way, the agency will play its part,” he said.
Meanwhile, the host of the open day, Deputy Minister for Transport II, Dato Henry Harry Jinep, hailed the Prime Minister’s announcement as timely.
“Without such an agency, we would have no platform to monitor project implementation. With this agency, we have a platform that will act to ensure the proper execution of the projects,” added Henry, who is the assembly of Tasik Biru.
At the same function, Abang Johari also launched the Bidayuh Cultural Center Project which is being built using RM9 million from the state government funds.
According to Henry, this project has been pursued for a long time by the Bau Bidayuh community led by the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA).
“In 2021, funding for the project was approved by the Prime Minister. This project would also be a catalyst and a platform for the future touristic development of Bau.
“In addition to being a community center, the said Bidayuh Cultural Center, which will include an auditorium / convention hall, will be a conference / event space to complement the existing Dewan Suarah Bau which is currently the only community / event space in the city of Bau,” Henri said.