Jepak under federal govt's development radar

03 Nov 2023 09:04am
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

BINTULU - The Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) at Km14, Pan Borneo Highway near here has become another new development landmark brought by the federal government in the Jepak state constituency.

The Bintulu MRSM campus involves a construction cost of RM122 million and will be operational from March 2024. It was officiated yesterday by Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Rubiah Wang said the cooperation between Mara as an agency under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (KKDW), the Sarawak Government and Petronas was to drive education development in the area.

Meanwhile, KKDW also allocated RM10 million for a monsoon drain project from Kampung Warisan Jepak to Sungai Batang Kemena.

This project aims to overcome the problem of floods that is often faced by the residents of the village which is one of the main settlement areas in Jepak state constituency.

In the meantime, the completion of the Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak, which also passes through Jepak constituency, also brings various facilities to the residents of the sub-urban and rural areas.

The project, which costs more than RM16 billion, will not only increase the mobility of the people commuting in the area, but also boost their socio-economic activities.

Jepak is also on the way to have internet upgrade in Sarawak through the collaboration of the federal government agency, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and state agency, Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA).

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This collaboration aims to speed up the process of implementing broadband internet coverage in Sarawak through the combination of MCMC's National Digital Interconnection Plan (Jendela) together with the SMA initiative.

The SMA initiative implemented by the state government's subsidiary, Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC), involves the construction of SMA's smart rural telecommunications tower (SMART).

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil had previously announced that Sarawak received the highest allocation amounting to RM4.46 billion under the Jendela project.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Utility and Telecommunication Minister Datuk Seri Julaihi Narawi said the state government has allocated RM1.89 billion to develop telecommunication infrastructure and the digital economy in the state.

Another effort towards improving the economy of the local population is the cultivation of oil palm as the main agricultural effort carried out in the rural part of Jepak state constituency and the federal government has taken several initiatives to assist small oil palm farmers in the area.

The Ministry of Plantation and Commodities through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has carried out the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification strengthening programme for smallholders in Jepak area.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof who heads the ministry has launched the programme which provides financial incentives to enable smallholders to obtain MSPO certification.

With MSPO certification, the oil palm harvested by these smallholders will be accepted as complying with internationally accepted sustainability principles.

MPOB has also established a Sustainable Oil Palm Growers' Cooperative (KPSM) to unite small oil palm farmers to implement good agricultural practices and sell their fresh oil palm bunches directly to the factory.

According to Fadillah, the government has provided assistance to KPSM for the construction of a weighing centre for the sale of fresh fruit bunches by smallholders.

To encourage the replanting of old oil palm trees that have passed 25 years, the federal government has allocated RM100 million in the 2024 Budget as an incentive to smallholders.

"This assistance is provided in the form of grants and loans that will benefit smallholders. I urge smallholders to take advantage of the assistance provided," he added. - BERNAMA