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Borneo Post May 20, 2013, Monday THANKS FOR EXCELLING: Nanta handing out the cash rewards to Dayak students who excelled in their 2012 public examinations.
KAPIT: Newly-appointed Federal Deputy Minister for Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi pointed out that requirements for the development of rural areas differ from the urban areas in that it involved the people’s asset, NCR land. “In the urban areas, development comes in various forms such as investment through shares and so forth. But development of the rural areas requires or involves land. This is how we plan for rural development as we need to make full use of our asset which is land for building infrastructure like roads, schools, clinics, hydro-electric projects and other economic development like rubber plantations and other cash crop cultivation,” said Nanta. He said this while officiating at a Kapit district pre-Gawai Dayak gathering held at the Civic Centre here on Saturday night. He said apart from providing basic infrastructure for the people in rural areas, the government also gives focus to economic development to further uplift the economic status of the rural population. “If we have a strong economy in the rural areas, urbanites also benefit from the purchasing power of the rural folk who need to buy their daily needs from town or urban areas. Hence there is a need for a balance of urban and rural economic development,” stressed Nanta. He pointed out that more often than not, the issue of (NCR) land matters for development in the rural areas was manipulated by the opposition. “Our past leaders include the former MP Temenggong Datuk James Jimbun, who has over the years brought the land issue to the government and it was only until recently that the perimeter survey for the NCR land under the new government initiative has materialised. “If we do not develop our (NCR) land or do a perimeter survey, then we will be at the losing end as the NCR survey determines our boundary so we can claim ownership to the land,” he said. On the Gawai gathering, Nanta congratulated the organising chairman Joseph Jinggut, who is also chairman of the Sarawak Dayak National Union, for hosting this year’s Gawai that has been slotted with many interesting programmes to maintain the Dayak culture and identity, such as the Kumang Gawai contest. “The Dayaks must continue to uphold their traditions and the Gawai celebration must be held continuously from year to year,” Nanta said, adding that the gathering has united Dayaks from all walks of life in the urban and sub-urban areas, before leaving for their respective longhouses for the celebration held from May 31 until June 1-2. “I know that each time during the pre-Gawai gathering in Kapit, the venue is always never (big) enough to accommodate everybody. This shows our desire to be together to preserve our culture despite diverse backgrounds in political inclination and culture and yet we know when to be united,” Nanta said.