The interior district of Telang Usan in Miri Division has undergone significant progress since its elevation from a sub-district in 2015.
One of its most notable development is the completion of the Long Lama Bridge or the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Bridge in 2019, which has not just reduced travel time between the district and Miri City, but also become a vital physical link for the rural population who used to depend on ferry services for their travels.
Additionally, since 2016 the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES) and hybrid solar projects have been implemented in settlements throughout Telang Usan to provide electricity to local communities comprising mostly the Orang Ulu such as the Kayan, Kenyah and Penan.
To further improve land connectivity in the district, various infrastructure projects are expected to be carried out by the Highland Development Agency (HDA) – a regional development agency formed by the Sarawak Government under the Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA) – many of which include establishing road networks connecting longhouses and villages that are scattered in the area.
For Telang Usan District Office, a rather small scale but important development project under its purview focuses on providing housing assistance to the needy, primarily Program Perumahan Rakyat Termiskin (PPRT).
The programme is a component of Skim Pembangunan Kesejahteraan Rakyat, a rural poverty eradication programme implemented under the Federal Government through Kementerian Pembangunan Luar Bandar to ensure the poor and hardcore poor are able to lead better lives.
It aims to enhance the quality of life of poor and hardcore poor families by constructing or renovating houses to provide a safer and more comfortable place to live in as the basis of a family’s well-being.
Between 2016 and 2021, a total of 325 projects under PPRT were carried out at Telang Usan; 49 of which are under the Construction or Bina Baharu category, while the remaining 276 under the Renovation or Baik Pulih category (Table 1).
Apart from being a means to tackle rural poverty, the programme is designed to bridge the inequality gap among low-income groups, especially in rural areas.
Among districts in Miri Division, Telang Usan has the second highest percentage of incidence of absolute poverty at 13.6 per cent, behind Marudi District (16.9 per cent) and preceding Beluru District (12.0 per cent).