ba-2009It’s typical Barisan Nasional. As usually happen, in almost all elections before, BN never fail to offer “development” (never mind if they reneged on that promises after election is over) as bait for vote.

After the Lubok Antu Dam – now the Lubok Antu voters promise to another development project – a telecommunication tower.

Deputy Minister of Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said the tower would enable the locals to enjoy the services of mobile and fixed telephone lines, while the centre would be equipped with computers and Internet access.

Salang said on Saturday night that the tower to be built at a cost of about RM1.2 million and the centre between RM1.2 and RM1.5 million would come “very soon”. But that “very soon” could be next year, or 2011?

He also said that the locals would start receiving rebates for their outboard engines by March 18. Many of the opinions said the government deliberately delay the payments.

At the meet-the-people session at Ruman Jangan that evening, Salang who is Julau MP, was quick to stress that the announcement was not a political gimmick, but a coincidence.

“What the government is giving to the people is not an election gimmick,” Salang said at the gathering, which was held during the launch of Universal Service Provision (USP) for the people here.

He said both projects were decided and approved last November, adding that the government had spent about RM20.2 million for the USP projects in Batang Ai.

RM20 million

In addition to the RM20.2 the government had spent, another RM20 million would be spent until the end of next year in Batang Ai area according to Salang.

Salang went on to say that the construction of the telecommunication tower would include putting up portable generator to benefit the longhouses that had yet to enjoy electricity supply.

“With the construction of the tower, 60 public telephones will be installed at various longhouses here and in Batang Ai,” Salang said.

On the setting up of a community broadband centre, Salang explained that Malaysian Commission of Communications and Multimedia would employ two local graduates in Computer Science to teach the locals to use computers and surf the Internet.

Salang, who is information chief of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) also urged locals to support whoever the party might field in the coming by-election, saying the Barisan Nasional was always there to help the people.

“We acknowledge the difficulties faced by the people, but development only comes slowly but surely,” said Salang.