MIRI (Sept 6): The Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) has implemented 50 projects at geographically challenging remote rural areas despite Covid-19 pandemic challenges, says Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

Though most of these projects awarded during 2019 were impacted by price increase post-pandemic, 17 projects are under construction; nine projects at detailed design stage; three projects have been completed; and 21 projects including 19 water supply projects are expected to be tendered out soon.

The Deputy Premier cum second Minister of Finance and New Economy who chaired the 5th Highland Development Agency Board (HDA) meeting at a local hotel here yesterday, said Recoda has taken various intervention measures to complete the remaining projects in line with the Sarawak government’s initiatives such as granting extension of 84 days and 46 days, waiver of Liquidated Ascertain Damages, and reducing minimum Interim Payment to contractors amounting RM1, 000.

“All these infrastructure projects will lay the foundation for various socio-economic programmes to increase the income and livelihood of rural communities in HDA area,” he told a press conference after the meeting to update the progress of these 50 infrastructure projects.

Uggah said HDA was established July 12, 2017 under Recoda to spur infrastructure and socio-economic development in areas such as Bario, Mulu and Long Lama.

It has completed the RM30.8million Integrated Highland Agriculture Station (IHAS) in Long Banga to be a catalyst for commercial agriculture in Baram.

During the meeting, it was decided that Department of Agriculture will deploy personnel this year so IHAS will be fully operational next year.

In view of infrastructure development, Uggah revealed that Recoda has appointed Unimas Holdings Sdn Bhd as the consultant to develop the Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) 2022-2026 for HDA.

“The main objective of SEDP is to identify opportunities for the people to participate in socio-economic activities with greater private sector investment for economic growth in short, mid and long terms within HDA area.

“In other words, we are committed to develop more rural entrepreneurs. Fifty-two potential socio-economic projects in eco-tourism, agriculture, forestry and aquaculture clusters have been identified.”

When asked on commercial agriculture development to be implemented at HDA areas, Uggah said the task will be left to the relevant agency as HDA will be focusing on suitable high value crop. -Source: The Borneo Post