MIRI: Rural folk from interior settlements in northern Sarawak are supporting the call for the Federal Government to expand its Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) concept to Miri City.
Miri functions as the main hub for some 1.5 million urban and rural people living in this northern half of the state and it is vital to have a one-stop centre where dealings with government agencies can be done.
Penan labourer Li Lawai, who migrated from Long Jilitan to Miri, told Sarawak Metro yesterday that he had tough time trying to get his MyKad due to logistics problems.
“I do not have a MyKad because my parents did not register me when I was small. Now I am facing a lot of difficulties getting the MyKad because I have to go back and forth from Long Jikitan to Miri and back again just to get the registration process done,” he said.
“I have been spending hundreds of ringgit just to hire four-wheel transportation (for my journey.”
Li, who works as a labourer earning RM30 per day, said having a one-stop centre would help ease the burden of having to hop from department to department and district to district.
Sarawak Assistant Mnister for Social Development Datuk Lee Kim Shin had said the UTC – that functions as a one-stop venue for dealing with key federal government departments – was a very useful concept as it would enable citizens to handle important tasks with these departments more conveniently and efficiently.
However, there is at present only one such UTC for Sarawak located in Kuching.
Lee, who is also Assistant Minister for Communications and Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Developments, said recently that having only one UTC for the whole state was not enough.
“I am making a strong case to Putrajaya to convince them on the need to set up a UTC in Miri City as soon as possible,” he said.
“Miri City serves as the focal point for social, economic and business dealings for those living in the northern districts of not just Miri but also Bintulu, Suai, Niah, Sibuti, Bekenu, Marudi, interior Baram, Long Lama, Limbang, Lawas, Bario and Bakelalan.”
Lee said Miri was also an important venue for the 35,000 plus Malaysians who were working and living in Brunei.
“Putrajaya has a policy that there will be one UTC for each state. While this policy may be applicable to the states in the peninsula, it is not practical for Sarawak to have only one UTC.
“Sarawak is different in the logistic aspects as it is so big in size. It is as big as the whole of peninsula Malaysia.
“Therefore it is justified for Miri to have a UTC to cater to the needs of Malaysians in northern Sarawak and those in Brunei,” he had said.
Lee, who briefed a UTC team headed by deputy secretary general of the Federal Treasury Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai on June 18 on the proposed Miri UTC, said he was hopeful that Putrajaya would set up the new UTC before year-end.