Balingian continues to move up the socio-economic ladder in line with smart city vision

Booming district: Aerial view of Mukah town and its surrounding areas.

Booming district: Aerial view of Mukah town and its surrounding areas.

BALINGIAN is a coastal state seat known for its sago, fishing and kaul beach festival.

Located in Mukah Division, the seat covers the area from Judan to Kuala Balingian.

Over the years, it has grown to become the centre of administration for the division and Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

It is also designed to be a smart city with focus on education, agriculture, tourism and service centre in the near future.

Mukah District community leader Pemanca Mohamad Jali Kawi said in 1963, the area was just a quaint fishing village while farmers’ main crop was sago.

From a subsistence economy, the people, with the help of the ruling government Barisan Nasional, had learned to diversify into cottage industry and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he said.

“Now Balingian, particularly Mukah, is thriving with socioeconomic activities. There are more concrete and tall buildings than before such as the Menara Pehin Setia Raja and the Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) headquarters,” he said.

Investments in swiflet farming and heavy industry had also moved the economy of the area, he said.

The 64-year-old said more people were visiting the area, including investors, which unfortunately had driven up the prices of private housing and seafood.

“The locals cannot afford these houses which are priced between RM350,000 and RM450,000,” he said.

Balingian is a Melanau-majority state constituency with 13,366 voters, including 133 from the local police. Of the voter population, 70% are Melanau, Ibans (20%) and Chinese (10%). The Melanaus are largely Muslim and Christian.

The constituency has 21 voting districts with 39 polling stations. One station, Dewan Serbaguna IPD Mukah, caters for advance voters and this will open from 8am to 5pm.

All polling stations will be open from 8am onwards.

Two stations, SK Kuala Kenyana Mukah and Rumah Kumbong Jalan Selangau Mukah, will close the earliest, that is at 2pm.

The rest will close no later than 5pm.

Kuala Lama voting district will have the most number of voters at 1,323 while Kenyana voting district has the least with 152 voters.

Results of past elections

In the 2011 state polls, Barisan Nasional’s Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud secured 6,210 votes against Independent Datuk Salleh Jafaruddin and PKR’s Suriati Abdullah, who garnered 1,056 and 871 votes, respectively.

In 2006, Taib won with 5,726 majority votes against Ibrahim Bayau of PKR.

In 2001, Taib moved from Asajaya to Balingian. He won in Balingian with 7,307 majority votes against three Independents Yeo Eng Choo who polled 225 votes, Alang Dunggat (61) and Kadri Jili (141).

Completed projects/achievements

1.       Recoda headquarters

2.       Menara Pehin Setia Raja that houses various government administrative offices for Mukah Division

3.       Mukah River bridge

4.       Balingian coal-fired power plant

Coming-up projects/development:

1.        Proposed Mukah Biotech Economic Zone

2.        Mukah new township near Kingwood Mukah Resort

3.        UITM Mukah Campus

4.        PPKS Mukah Campus

Issues and needs

1.       A secondary school in Balingian sub-district

2.       More recreational facilities such  as a public swimming pool and senior citizen centre

3.       Build SK Kampung Tellian

4.       New Mukah airport to cater for commercial aircraft landings

5.       Upgrade Mukah hospital

6.       Run-down walkway along Taman Pedada

7.       Escalating prices of private housing and seafood

8.       Improve Internet penetration in the area

9.       Increasing low-water pressure in Mukah town and surrounding villages

10.    Aid for two Chinese-medium schools in Mukah

11.    Better treated water supply in Balingian sub-district

12.    More socioeconomic activities in Mukah and Balingian

13.    Dilapidated Kampung Baru bridge

14.    An additional petrol station in Mukah to cope with risingnumber of vehicles

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