Lubok Antu Progress

Six Months On

It has been six months since the last Batang Ai By Election. That was the By election which woke up Batang Ai dwellers and also brought people from all over Malaysia to converge on this small town. News of Lubong Antu were beaconed and transmitted to the whole world by the various mass media and blogs. The party flags from the poster war can still be seen around the area, life in Lubok Antu has returned to normal now. The visitors had earlier on decorated almost every corner of the town with party flags and kept complaining about the lack of water and power disruptions they experienced during their short stint here. Its easy to spot a visitor at that time - they are usually the ones running fast forward from one longhouse, kampung and shoplots to the other in this slow motion town setting.

After the election is won its time to deliver promises and as one walks around town, there are various improvements that can be seen in and around Lubok Antu District. the completion of the Lubok Antu District Office which is set to be the nerve centre for the district and also the Police Headquarters which, at the moment is the tallest building there seem to be setting the pace. Other new modern buildings coming up include the new shoplots built by ASSAR.

16 Units of Double Storey Shophouses by ASSAR

Modern office - business block is expected to open more business oppurtunities for the town.

The 16 Units of shophouses by Permodalan ASSAR would provide the town with more business activities especially the much needed bank. It was one of the people's request during the last by-election. Banks are reluctant to operate in the area unless the security issue can be addressed first (the need for concrete building for an office).

Activities at the construction site of ASSAR shophouses mean a healthy sign that the project is ongoing. More people there working rather than bushes growing is a good indicator something is happening.

Lubok Antu District Office

As mentioned the symbol of government administration - the Lubok Antu District Office is taking shape and would be operational in a matter of months.

The entrance to the Lubok Antu District Office - modern and refreshing compared to the existing Fort Arundell which houses the present District Office

The spacious District Office means a more pleasant and customer (rakyat) friendly atmosphere

The office from another angle

The Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) Complex

Another landmark for the District's development is the Police Headquarters. Being a border town, security is an issue of high priority and that is why it is necessary to have a modern office to accomodate the security personnels expecially the Police.

Construction is underway

Some of the buildings have been partially painted

The PDRM main administration building - something to look forward to

Another view of the building from a distance

Longhouse Visit at Sukong, Lubok Antu

Lubok Antu's hilly terrain makes it difficult for communication companies to ensure proper coverage - that is what I was informed anyway. So its quite puzzling when I seem to be detecting Indonesia's phone signal which they say is stronger in Lubok Antu. Strange......does it mean our neighbour's telecommunication capacity is better than ours and their nearest town near the border which is called Badau has a smaller population than Lubok Antu. Anyway its for the telcos to look into lest the Yellow Men we get to see in television are also very particular about the water disruptions there - but I still wonder if they have to go to the washroom, how they can get out of those yellow suit.

The modern longhouse at Sukong, Lubok Antu

Upon entering the longhouse I was happy to note that they have two wireless coin operated telephone with that familiar this is Celcom Territory symbol. No yellow men here it seems.

The longhouse folks there told me that this two telephones were 'Mesin nelan sen' which is quite humourous. It means this machine swallows your money. Of course it was, its coin operated.

When I tried the phone I discovered it is indeed a 'Mesin Nelan Sen'. You put in your coins, the connection is bad and you can't get through the line dialed and you never get your coins back. Something is quite wrong here. I did ask the longhouse folks if they ever report the matter to the telcos and they said they always do and it takes time for the repairmen to come. It will be 'repaired' for a while until the repairmen leaves. This 'phone' can detect after the repairmen are about a hundred kilometres radius away from the vicinity it transforms into a 'Mesin Nelan Sen' again. Another new meaning to Smartphone.

The rice gunny sacks are a familiar sight in this Iban longhouses whose dependency on farming ensures that food is available all year round. So when someone drops by in your office one day and offer you a packet of rice as gift, do say thank you as its produced from their toil and sweat of six to twelve months per padi season.

Wrapping up the visit, I headed for the Batang Ai Recreation area (which will be reported in the next blog post). Discussions with the locals there indicates that they would like to see a more 'intensified' improvement in the reliability of electricity and water supply. If one notices a few picture above, electricity supply is guaranteed with those SESCO meters but here are frequent blackouts and water shortages in the area. Furthermore they would like to see more of their local Yang Berhormats to make their rounds in the constituency. In other words they do miss their YBs and if they do not show up for some time they do feel it. Not only the phones are smart...... The people of Lubok Antu have their own report card for their local representatives and the list of election promises made - it need not be the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister to assess the YBs performance. Maybe one day the PM and locals here can compare report card notes and give some marks. I'll be more happy to help. An Honour to Serve.


Jeev said…
Next time when I visit Sarawak, I am hanging out with you!!
John Goh said…
as a hydro-electicity generation area - Batang Ai Hydro, it would be a great suprise if u heard of electicity breakdown...........
Pn Hamidah said…
A clear sign of how the Government of the day is particularly concerned on the pace of administrative and economic developments taking shape even in a considerably small district like Lubok Antu . The new PDRM Complex and the living quarters for the Police Personnel proves structure under the Malaysia Plan well in progress. Promises delivered are promises kept. Cheers! :)
Coffee Girl said…
Hey Desmond! Nice to see something good came out of the election. at last! going on good, a lot of work for you coming up too. :-) at least now nobody should take the rakyat for fools. Tahniah.