Liwan (fifth left) chairs the meeting attended by Chukpai (sixth left), Zaidi (fourth left) and service providers at Sg Asap sub-district office.

BELAGA, 07 September 2022 - The budget needed to lay down fibre optic to digitalise Sg Asap, which includes the longhouses, schools, clinic, sub-district office and places of worship, is RM38 million, inclusive of a three-year free maintenance.

Additionally, Telekom Malaysia will need another RM4 million to erect telecommunication poles in order to link Sg Asap with the fibre optic. 

This budget estimation was revealed by a representative of a telecommunication service provider Danawa during a closed-door briefing with Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) and other telecommunication service providers which was also attended by Deputy Minister of Telecommunication Datuk Liwan Lagang and Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon at Sg Asap sub-district office here today.

In this current age of digital economy, Liwan, who is also Belaga assemblyman, wants to see that the people of Sg Asap who has been resettled there, be connected with seamless Internet coverage via fibre optic, as they are sacrified their homes for the much-needed energy to propel Sarawak for greater development. 

"The loss of culture and heritage of the people of Sg Asap as a result of the implementation of the Bakun hydroelectric dam should be reciprocated by the government with the provision of basic utilities such as road, water, electricity and telecommunication.

"If we have spent billions of ringgit in other areas, why not spend millions in Sg Asap too, which have sacrified so much for the State. That is just to be fair, to say the least," he said in a media release after the closed-door briefing.

Liwan also urged the service providers to work closely with the district office and the local elected service centres, so as to ensure that telecommunication towers are built at strategic locations to benefits the local communities.

Echoing Liwan's remarks, Chukpai also wants the Internet connection to be done soonest possible in order to support the operation of the proposed ATM machine at Sg Asap.

"Currently, we have the mobile Internet but now we want to connect Sg Asap with fibre optics so that the bank can operate here. Through this briefing, we know that there is short and long-term planning for the people of Sg Asap," he said.

Chukpai added that the briefing was a follow-up after the announcement of Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who has agreed for the setting up of an ATM at the new sub-district office, which is now 80 per cent completed. 

"So now we want to know when the fixed line will be connected here. How soon I think it depends on the budget and SMA. But to me, the budget should not be a problem because the YAB Premier has agreed to the idea (of the setting up of the ATM machine). I have written to him (Premier) and he said the pilot project in Sebauh should implemented here as well," he pointed out. 

He also expressed hope to see BRS Sg Asap to be fully accessible to digital connectivity in order to improve the quality of life of the peoples through digital economy such as modern farming using Internet of Things (IOT) technologies and others. 

Meanwhile, SMA general manager Ts Dr Zaidi Razak assured the meeting that SMA will monitor and recommend the best strategy to digitalise Sg Asap area.

Present at the briefing was Belaga district officer Bidah Lugah.

Source: Dayak Daily