Sarawak election: Najib pledges RM4.5mil to research on fish species

The Federal government has approved RM4.5 million for research on the empurau (Malaysian Mahseer/Tor tambroides), a fresh water fish that is almost extinct in Sarawak.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced this at a “meet-the-people” session held at the futsal court of the town of Spaoh, about 50 kilometres from here, today.

“This to enable the fish to be enjoyed not only by the people of Sarawak but also in the peninsula when it can be harvested in larger quantities later,” he said.

The empurau is a much sought after fish and very expensive, with the price for three kilogrammes reaching between RM2,800 and RM3,000. Environmental pollution has caused the fish to become almost extinct

At the function attended by more than 1,000 residents of  Spaoh, Najib said the Federal government had made huge allocations for development in Sarawak, including RM5.7 billion under the National Key Result Areas for 2010-2012.

“The allocation for Sarawak is the biggest compared to other states. Under the 1Malaysia concept, projects implemented are not based on ethnicity.

“The government is deeply committed to uplift the living standard of the people particularly in the rural areas,” he said, adding that the government had also agreed to implement its pledge to carry out survey work on native customary rights (NCR) lands in Sarawak, which had become a bone of contention among the owners of such lands.

“Last year we allocated RM20 million for this purpose, this year RM30 million and next year another RM30 million will be provided. As such, accusations by the Opposition that the government is not doing anything about this are a pack of lies.

“They (opposition) should wake up to the reality that the government does not sideline rural residents in connection with their ancestral lands,” he said

Najib also slammed the opposition, in particular a “one-eyed party”, for not being up to date on development issues.

“The leader of PKR (the one-eyed party) when he was Finance Minister for eight years never came to Spaoh and bring about development. Only now he is hopping here and there in Sarawak to peddle all kinds of promises.

“There is no way his party can deliver. Only the BN can,” he added.

Also present were Natural Resources and Environment minister, Douglas Uggah, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister, Alfred Jabu, who is defending the Layar seat for the BN in the April 16 Sarawak state election, and Robert Lawson Chuat and Mohamad Razi Sitam, the coalition’s candidates for Bukit Saban and Saribas respectively.