The Borneo Post Reports:
SANTUBONG: As members of Parliament from all over the country started to converge in Kuching for the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) retreat this weekend, it was also an opportune time to find out their views of Sarawak and the progress that it has achieved. During the registration for the retreat at the Holiday Inn Resort Damai Lagoon here yesterday.
The Borneo Post caught up with four MPs, who shared their opinion of Sarawak and also what they could learn from the State. Terengganu MP for Dungun Datuk Rosli Mat Hassan believed Sarawak has made good progress, not only in terms of physical progress but also in developing its people. "The most important thing is not just the high-rise buildings and infrastructure, but the people. What we all strive for is a highly civilised society and a high standard of living; I think Sarawak is defmitely headed in that direction." He also noted the friendliness of the people here, as well as the cleanliness of the State capital city. "The cleanliness here should be a model for Malaysia. Very few 'tong sampah' (garbage bins) but very clean, compared to some places in the Peninsula where there are a lot of tong sampah but very dirty," he said, while also commending the State for creating well-planned towns.
Rosli, who is also the BNBBC secretary, said Sarawak was chosen for the venue of the retreat to allow MPs from all over the country to learn about the progress in Sarawak, and to strengthen their relationship with the State's MPs and State Assemblymen here.Perak's Member of Parliament for Kampar, Tan Sri Hew See Tong last came to Sarawak four years ago and he pointed out that Kuching had changed a lot since then. "It has improved and progressed a lot. The economy here has also grown and this can be seen in the infrastructure development and also agriculture sector," he said.He believed there was a lot to learn from the State and may even invite the business community in his constituency to seek investment opportunities here.
As for Melaka's MP for Jasin, Datuk Mohd Said Yusof, he reckoned that some of the infrastructure in Kuching was even equivalent to the nation's capital. "There is a lot of infrastructure development in the city, particularly the flyovers which are equivalent to Kuala Lumpur."But of course it will take time for Sarawak to fully develop as it is such a big State," said Said, whose last visit to Kuching was four years ago, as well.He said the tourism promotion efforts in Sarawak was commendable and was also very impressed with the Kuching Waterfront. "You have done the Kuching Waterfront very well, and even Melaka is copying theconcept with the Melaka Waterfront."
Meanwhile, Kedah MP for Padang Terap Datuk Ghazali Ibrahim was very impressed with the cleanliness in the State's capital. "I think Sarawak has progressed a lot in terms of development, especially in in Kuching Ciity is outstanding.With that in mind, Ghazali hoped that officials from the city council of Alor Star could learn a thing or two from thier counterparts in Kuching."Alor Setar is a relatively new city and maybe we could bring our officials to Kuching to learn how to manage the cleanliness aspect. "Kuching is so clean and relatively free of street hawkers, which is different from Kedah that has a lot of street side hawkers he said, while pointing out that he was equally impressed with the development efforts that he has seen in Sri Aman and Bintulu.This is the first time the is the first time the BNBCC retreat is being held in Sarawak, with Sabah playing host to the event last year.
eputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to open the retreat tomorrow,while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will officiate at the closing ceremony the following day.
The Briefing at Wisma Bapa Malaysia
The Members of Parliament (Backbenchers) went to listen to the Sarawak development briefing given by my Director on Friday. We broke our back in trying to prepare the best materials to present to the VIPs but it was done in good time. The MPs requested for a copy of the presentation which our office will burn in CD - things are looking bright for our State's Ninth Malaysia Plan requests :) Congratulations to Ms. Sapiah of the Macro Sector who did an excellent job.
Dato' Shahrir looks amused as he sees the Backbenchers taking their seats
Dato' Shahrir consults his Club Secretary on several issues raised
The breakfast prepared for the VIPs
YB Datuk Raja Ahmad, the Backbenchers Club Vice President stresses a point
The faces behind the preparations - Ms Sapiah and Ms. Ivy of the State Planning Unit
The Gun Range
This Saturday morning, the MPs proceeded to the Batu Kawa camp for a shooting competition. It was quite a fun event as the MPs enjoyed themselves and I did too. Never would you see so many VIPs having a friendly 'jest' with each other.
VIP Group photo
The shooting range - gun and targets
You have a revolver and one that looks like I always use in Counter Strike, safety Glass, Ear Protection, Bullets.
VIPs listening to the safety briefing
Trying out the gun
YB James Dawos, MP for Mambong, entertaining the VIP crowd
YB Alexander Nanta Linggi MP for Kapit has a go at the target
This lady particpant - i have to find out who she is but man does she shoot in style
YB Joseph Salang MP for Julau - one of the top shooters (high scores)
MPs having a konco-konco moment
Joining the Konco-Konco trend - I have to get myself into this new trend, something like the Macerena Craze....its good the MPs are willing to learn to relax before Parliament starts again.
Doing the Sumazou to the Proton Saga Kelabu song - no surprise these YBs are from Sabah
Relaxing with YB Datukl Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, YB Jacob Sagan and Sarawak Immigration Director, Yang Bahagia Datuk Robert
Finally - a chance to show off my shooting skills - the Cowboy of Borneo!
Overall, it was a fun outing with the MPs. I found out that they are all a sporting bunch - if you can see from the video clip below:
My day, so far has not ended as the MPs of the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers' Club will be here for the next few days till Monday. My conclusion is that the MPs were great in the debate during the Ninth Malaysia Plan briefing at Wisma Bapa Malaysia - and they were great at shooting as seen by the scores of the shooting competition - excellent marksmenship - no wonder they can shoot the opposition down, and good singers - the regular debates in Parliament makes good practice....and the Konco Konco dance, they put me to shame for not knowing the latest dance steps :)