By Karen Bong
MIRI, April 6: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has approved the building of a concrete longhouse to cater to 42 Penan families in Kampung Batu Bungan, and for Kampung Melinau which has more than 92 villages scattered around to be gazetted into a village reserve for better management of the housing there.
“As for the request to build another longhouse block in Batu Bungan, we just approved it.
“For the request to gazette Melinau into village reserve… the permanent secretary and Land and Survey Department director are here. We will do that and properly arrange (sic) the village with infrastructure,” he said when addressing a ‘Leaders with People’ gathering at Mulu Marriot Resort and Spa in Miri tonight.
As for the development of a mini township in Mulu which is a prominent tourist attraction in Miri, Abang Johari pointed out that there is no need to wait for the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to plan for it as the Sarawak government can do this.
“Mulu is a tourism centre and a mini township is needed. So we get a masterplan done first including for government offices especially an Immigration Office to cater for tourists and visitors’ arrival,” he said.
Earlier on, Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala explained that the statuses of Kampung Melinau and Batu Bungan have yet to be formalised even though village chiefs have been appointed.
“But the villages need to be properly managed as the houses are scattered and considering that several projects will be implemented including treated water supply and electricity supply. If the villages are not properly managed, we will have problems with road access and utilities.
“Kampung Melinau has more than 92 villages scattered around. So Kampung Melinau has requested to be gazetted as village reserve and to be turned into a resettlement,” he said.
As for the second concrete longhouse block in Batu Bungan, Gerawat shared that Giat Mara was previously tasked by the federal government to build the longhouse for the Penan community but due to the change in government, things have quietened down.
“But we will continue to pursue with federal (government) for the housing for the Penan in Batu Bungan.
“Kampung Batu Bungan has a 38-door concrete longhouse built by the government but 42 doors (households) are yet to have a proper concrete longhouse,” he added.
Gerawat, who is the Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN), also highlighted the lack of facilities for government and private enterprise even though Mulu is a sub-district.
“In the past, EPU has planned to develop a mini township centre so hopefully the Chief Minister can consider taking this up and continue with the development,” he said.
He added that Mulu also does not have a proper police station currently which will be inconvenient especially when accidents involving tourists or visitors from outside Sarawak happened as police from Marudi will need to be called in.
“A proper Immigration Office is also needed to deal with matters related to tourists and visitors considering that Brunei is just next to Miri.
“With a mini township, it can also bring economic activities here. So the locals are really hopeful for the project to materialise,” he added. — DayakDaily