DAP to run outreach projects in rural S'wak

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 11): In an attempt to make greater inroads in Sarawak, DAP today launched an outreach project aimed at uplifting the livelihood of the people in the state's rural areas besides raising their political awareness. "Today we are launching the Impian Sarawak campaign where we seek to make an impact in Sarawak (during the) state election in 2015 and the eventually takeover of Putrajaya in the 14th general election," said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng. He said this year was a momentous year for Sabah and Sarawak, being the 50th anniversary of formation of Malaysia. The DAP, he added, wants to show that Pakatan Rakyat can provide better governance to the people, with the resources of the state used for benefit of the people. "We want to show that we can make a difference," Lim told a press conference at the party headquarters here.   However, when asked whether the DAP would contest in more Dayak-majority seats in rural Sarawak in the 2015 state election, Lim said: "We will deal with it later." In the 2011 state election, DAP won 13 state seats, mainly in the Chinese-majority urban areas. Lim said the Impian Sarawak campaign aimed at providing basic infrastructure, such as clean water, electricity and roads, to rural Sarawakians. The party hopes to carry out five projects in different villages every month, with each project requiring funds of between RM20,000 and RM50,000. The party will organise fund raising dinners to raise funds for the projects, and is also seeking volunteers to help out. The first project is the construction of a gravity feed water system at Kampung Sait, which is a 40-minute drive or a two-hour walk, from Kuching. The village is one of those displaced as a result of the construction of the Bengoh Dam. The party has come out with a series of videos depicting the life of Sarawakians living in the interior areas, with the hope that other Malaysians will be more aware of their economic conditions. One video screened during the launch today showed people having to walking several kilometres in the jungle to get unclean lake water to wash and bath. John Brian Anthony, a DAP central executive committee member from Sarawak, said that this is their daily life in Sarawak. "This (outreach project) is a clear opportunity for DAP to offer their service to the community to show the people the possibility to have a better future with new partners and new leadership," he said. Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said Sarawak is a resource rich state, yet it is also the fourth least developed state in Malaysia. The state's estimated revenue this year is RM4.066 billion, against RM4.7 billion last year and 6.627billion in 2011, with the income coming mainly from oil and gas, timber and sales of state land. Chong claimed that the people are purposely kept poor so that they will continue to support BN to get basic amenities. He added that the DAP's outreach projects will show that even as an opposition party, "we can do a lot, what more if we become government."
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