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Published: Monday July 27, 2009 MYT 11:42:00 AM
Updated: Monday July 27, 2009 MYT 12:40:08 PM

M’sian politicians to go deep into Borneo to see Penan plight

BINTULU: A high-powered delegation made up of 16 politicians from throughout the country will travel deep into the interior of central Sarawak to see for themselves the problems faced by rural folk -- especially the Penans -- who are living in very remote regions of Borneo.

The delegation will be made up of Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, several deputy federal and state ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs) and state assemblymen.

The delegation leader is Datuk Billy Abit Joo, who is MP for Ulu Rejang, the largest parliamentary constituency in Malaysia.

The places where the delegation will visit will be mostly located in his seat, a constituency that is as big as the state of Pahang, Abit told The Star on Monday.

These places are located very far from the urban centre. It will take about seven to eight hours to travel from Bintulu town through jungles and via timber roads to reach these places that are within the Kapit Division.

“Most of those in the delegation are backbenchers. They will see for themselves the type of problems faced by those rural folks living in the remotests parts of Sarawak and how the Government is trying to help these people improve their lives.

“Trips such as these are very important. It will not only be an eye-opener for the politicians, but will also foster closer ties between backbenchers and rural folk.

“The problems we face in the rural parts of Sarawak are still difficult to solve. Woes relating to lack of infrastructure like roads and bridges require huge amount of financial help from the Federal Government,” Abit said when interviewed.

The delegation will visit a Penan settlement and also a school that he (Abit) had helped to establish years ago for Penan children.

The delegation will also visit the Bakun dam region, the Bakun resettlement scheme in Sungai Asap, as well as meet up with the project developer.

Abit said former Cabinet Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad is also expected to join the trip.

The delegation will spend about four days in the deep interior.

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