Neglected Infrastructure Woes: The State of Public Utilities in Sarawak

Nestled on the island of Borneo, Sarawak boasts breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural diversity, and a unique blend of modernity and tradition. However, beneath the veneer of its natural beauty lies a disheartening issue that often goes unnoticed – the deteriorating state of public utilities. In this article, we will shine a light on one particular aspect: the neglected telecommunication cable poles and their cables that have become an eyesore across the region.

Unveiling the Neglect

The area where photos were taken

While being caught in an hour traffic jam on a Kilometer road along the road from Kampung Bumbuk to Haji Baki Traffic Light, I managed to take some photos of those eye-sore views of some telecommunication poles and one is immediately confronted with a stark reality. Telecommunication facilities, once symbols of connectivity and progress, now stand as haunting reminders of neglect. The poles that should stand tall and proud are overshadowed by encroaching creepers, with some poles leaning precariously or even falling to the ground. Cables that once carried vital signals hang dishevelled, sprawling on the earth below.

A Symptom of a Larger Problem

While the sight of cable poles overrun by nature is distressing in its own right, it is merely a symptom of a larger problem that plagues Sarawak – the inadequate maintenance of public utilities. The decay of these telecommunication facilities underscores a lack of attention and investment in crucial infrastructure that sustains modern life. Reliable communication is the lifeblood of any developed society, and its degradation can have far-reaching consequences.

Impact on Connectivity

The ramifications of this neglect are significant. Sarawakians who rely on these telecommunication services for essential tasks such as communication, business transactions, and emergency services are left stranded in a state of frustration. The unreliability of these infrastructure components can result in dropped calls (fortunately most people are on mobile phones nowadays, slow internet speeds, and compromised data transmission. This not only hinders personal communication but also affects the productivity and competitiveness of businesses operating in the region.

Aesthetic Disarray

Beyond the functional implications, the visual blight of fallen poles and unravelled cables tarnishes the aesthetic appeal of Sarawak’s landscapes. Tourists, who flock to the state to experience its natural wonders and vibrant cultures, are greeted with an unsightly contrast between nature’s beauty and man-made decay. This is especially when those unmaintained poles and cables are seen in and around tourist spots. This can potentially discourage tourism, a sector that plays a pivotal role in the region’s economy.

The Call for Action

It is evident that the state of public utilities in Sarawak demands urgent attention and remediation. To reverse this disconcerting trend, a multi-pronged approach is required:

  1. Investment in Infrastructure: Adequate funding should be allocated to maintain and upgrade telecommunication facilities. Regular inspections, repairs, and modernization efforts are essential to ensure a seamless and reliable communication network.
  2. Public Awareness and Engagement: Creating awareness among the public about the importance of maintaining infrastructure can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility. Citizens can actively contribute by reporting issues and supporting initiatives for upkeep.
  3. Collaboration with Industry: Telecommunication companies and related industries should work hand-in-hand with governmental bodies to ensure timely maintenance and upgrades. Public-private partnerships can expedite the process and enhance the overall quality of services.
  4. Tourism Promotion and Preservation: Recognizing the link between infrastructure and tourism, authorities should prioritize the preservation of scenic beauty and cultural heritage. By enhancing the overall visual appeal of the state, Sarawak can continue to attract visitors and sustain economic growth.


Sarawak’s neglected telecommunication cable poles and their cables paint a sobering picture of the state of public utilities. This issue serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding vital infrastructure to sustain connectivity, facilitate economic growth, and preserve the natural and cultural allure of the region. By addressing this problem head-on through collaboration, investment, and public engagement, Sarawak can reclaim its status as a model of progress and harmony between nature and human development.

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