20 squatter families at Chawan Road cemetery ready to relocate

Uggah (centre) in a group photo with the village chiefs.

KUCHING, Oct 8: About 20 of the 63 families squatting at the Chawan Road Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) cemetery site here have indicated they are ready to relocate.

According to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah in a statement, the state government is still identifying more suitable sites for them to move to.

“Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari (Tun Openg) has, for a start, allowed them to move to Batu Gong area in Siburan near here.

“We are also studying another option that is low-cost housing.”

Uggah revealed this when three Iban longhouse chiefs and their Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) members paid a courtesy call on him today.

The group was led by Tuai Rumah (Tr) Adi Jaya, Tr Ajun Lasu and Tr Moses Iba Dagang from the Taman Malihah and Taman Alamanda areas.

“We would like to know the real reasons why there are those who preferred to stay put,” Uggah disclosed.

“I have been told some of them are working in nearby factories and their children are studying in nearby schools. And financial constraint is the other reason.

“But the place they are occupying now is a cemetery belonging to the Sarawak Dayak National Union.

“And a cemetery is not a proper place to stay or to raise their children for the long haul.

“So I hope our community leaders can continue to convince them to move.”

Adi (left) presenting Uggah with his settlement profile document.

Meanwhile, Uggah who is the Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development Minister suggested that the urban Dayak community with vacant land go into modern farming using systems such as fertigation and hydroponics.

He noted these systems did not require much space or manpower to manage.

“You can grow crops like chilli, native vegetables or ginger, and these have good market demand.”

“The women folk can perhaps pool their resources together to take up some cottage industry activities.

“All these can generate supplementary income.”

He also revealed the government had planned to set up an agro park at Samarahan where interested farmers could rent plots for planting.

Those interested may check with the Agriculture Department for assistance and other details.

Meanwhile, in his speech, Adi said the Kuching Iban community leaders were happy with Uggah’s leadership as the latter had shown himself to be the most approachable leader who cared a lot for their well-being.

Adi added the purpose of the call was to invite Uggah as the guest-of-honour for two fundraising dinners organised by the group this October 25 and November 8 respectively. — DayakDaily