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Kit Siang calls for roads to be built in rural Sarawak following boat tragedy

Kit Siang calls for roads to be built in rural Sarawak following boat tragedy
29 May 2013 09:41am
DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang
DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang

KUALA LUMPUR: Following the sinking of an express boat on Sarawak’s Rajang river in which 23 passengers are still missing, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang has called for the government to give top priority to providing road access from Bakun to Belaga and Bintulu, and from Kanowit to Song to Kapit.

Lim said both the Sarawak State Assembly and the Federal Cabinet should come out with a prompt and immediate response after two meetings today – firstly, the last day of the Sarawak State Assembly and secondly, the second meeting of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s post-GE13 Cabinet in Putrajaya this morning.

“If not, the Belaga boat disaster and the failure of equitable development in Sarawak in the past 50 years with still no road access to the rural districts in the state should be the top topic for MPs in the first 16-day meeting of the 13th Parliament beginning on June 24,” he said.

He said the Belaga boat accident yesterday should be regarded as a national disaster as it is tragic proof of failure of 50 years of development in Sarawak with still no road access to rural districts.

Yesterday, an overloaded express boat is believed to have suffered engine failure before it hit a rock and sank at the Jeram Tukok/Jeram Bungan area, about four hours’ journey upriver from Sibu.

A total of 181 passengers managed to swim to safety while 23 are still missing.

Initial investigation indicated that the express boat had exceeded its capacity for 67 seated passengers as it was believed to be overloaded with over 200 passengers returning home for the Gawai Dayak festivities.

The Sarawak Rivers Board Chairman Datuk Roland Sagah has announced a full investigation into the tragic accident, warning of appropriate action against the express boat operator for failing to heed the advice not to overload or allow passengers to climb on the roof when the vessel was too full while plying the rivers.

Two years ago, 13 passengers died in a similar express boat tragedy in Tatau district near Bintulu town.

 

http://news.abnxcess.com/2013/05/kit-siang-calls-for-roads-to-be-built-in-rural-sarawak-following-boat-tragedy/

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