Friday, April 29, 2016

No water and electricity in Sarawak?

A few days ago, I read Malaysiakini's headlines "DAP: PM promises 4G internet but no water, electricity after 53 years".

In that article, Mr Leon Jimat Donald who is DAP's candidate for Simanggang slammed the Prime Minister for dangling 4G internet if BN wins but failed to provide electricity and water to some in the state.

He said the BN government should be focusing on rural long houses which are lacking basic services.

I actually flipped open the Auditor General Report 2014 Series 2 page 55 and 56.

The Auditor General Report said that as at 31 October 2014, the 24 hours electricity coverage in rural area had benefited 536,278 applicants or 92.8% of them.

The Auditor General was referring to the Rural Electrification Scheme that was introduced to improve the system and quality of electricity supply from 12 hours to 24 hours.

It is thus extremely incorrect for any party, especially Malaysiakini, to use the phrase "no water or electricity after 53 years". The remaining 7.2% of applicants actually have electricity, although limited.

All of us, including politicians, journalists and even the man on the street, We must stop painting a false picture as though Malaysians live in the jungle like Tarzans or Mowgli from the Jungle Book.

The World Bank actually lists Malaysia as one of the 89 countries in the world where 100 percent of the population has access to electricity.

Rural basic infrastructure is a key focus under Najib's Government Transformation Programme. Since the GTP was introduced, Sarawak has received the largest share of the Budget. Billions, every year.

Just on rural electrification under the RES scheme, Government has spent RM2.15 billion in the span of 6 years between 2009-2014.

But we must not forget a very important point. The Government is not dragging its feet on those who are currently receiving 12 hours electricity only and want 24 hours. The Rural Electrification projects in Sarawak are not easy. There are geographical challenges and management of resources to consider.

Not an excuse, yes the Government must and is working on it, but we must not neglect development in other areas of focus.

That is a recipe for disaster, DAP. Look at other countries.

In the ASEAN region, take Philippines as an example, only 87.5% of its citizens have access to electricity. But the country spent about RM6 billion last year on infrastructure for better mobile internet.

Elsewhere in India, where poverty is widespread and some say it is home to a third of the world's extreme poor, only 78.7% of its population have access to electricity. I don't even want to talk about clean water there.

But while the Indian Government is actively working on improving access to basic necessities, the telcos there are building infrastructure and analysts expect 4G smartphone users to grow from a mere 5 million last year to 180 million in 3 years.

So, why belittle or question Najib and BN's offer to develop other areas of focus?

Why can't Sarawakians enjoy 4G internet, while Government also spends billions in upgrading the quality of access to electricity and water?

Third world mentality politicians in DAP.