Solar generators for 7,000 a good start, scheme should cover everyone in rural Sarawak, says group

MIRI: The project to provide solar generators for 7,000 natives in nine villages deep in the Baram jungles is a good start, and should be extended to all rural folk in Sarawak, says a non-governmental organisation.

Society for Rights of Indigenous People of Sarawak (SCRIPS) said every rural household should be given free solar-powered sets that can generate clean and uninterrupted electricity supply under the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification System (SARES).

"SARES is a good project, so extend it to all of rural Sarawak.

"Having access to electricity is a fundamental right of every citizen, just like the right to have clean water, food resources, land-ownership, jobs and education," SCRIPS secretary-general Michael Jok told The Star on Friday (Oct 2).

He said there were about one million or so natives still living in rural Sarawak.

That project was facilitated by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) under its Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES).

SEB is the state's electricity provider.

Jok praised SEB for its effort to help rural folks who are still not connected to the state's electricity grid.

"The SARES scheme should be extended to the one million or so rural folk still living in 6,000 remote settlements.

"There must be fair implementation of SARES in all constituencies," he said.

Jok said there were many isolated settlements where the only source of electricity is from diesel-powered generator sets.

"These generators require a lot of diesel fuel, which can be costly in rural Sarawak. They pollute the air too," he said.

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