Aggrieved Sg Asap-Koyan residents query on promised mobile banking service

Umie (second from left) with residents of Sg Asap.

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BELAGA, April 25: Residents of Sungai Asap-Koyan felt cheated by the government’s promise to set up mobile banking service in their area in the first quarter of this year.

Chairperson of Kenyah Uma Baha Women’s Association Sibu, Umie Liau said today that they had yet to see anything comes into fruition.

On August 5, last year, Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told the Dewan Rakyat that mobile banking services for Sg Asap, Belaga, Sebauh and Tatau would be launched in the first quarter of 2021.

Junaidi had said the federal government acknowledged the needs of the local people and entrepreneur community for banking facilities in Sg Asap, Belaga.

“It has been eight months already and we have yet to see or hear of anything on the mobile banking service.

I would like to urge the government to be more transparent to provide the latest updates for the benefits of the local people,” said Umie.

Residents, she said want to know about the latest progress of the proposed banking service.

She said the people of Sg Asap had sacrificed a lot for the construction of the Bakun Hydro Dam and that the government should consider their plight.

“I would prefer the government to set up a permanent bank there instead. Not just a mobile banking.

“My people sacrifice so much. We gave way to the government to build two dams – Bakun Mega HEP Dam and Murum HEP Dam.

“We were promised of so many good things in the new relocated place. So, we deserve a permanent bank in BRS, Sg Asap, Belaga,” she asserted.

Umie said a permanent bank service is much better than a mobile one as the former is on a temporary basis only.

“They can provide mobile bank service while looking for a site for a permanent one at most longhouses. If it is not feasible then choose a strategic longhouse for the service where residents from other longhouses can come to enjoy the service,” she said.

Umie said presently the residents of 15 longhouses in her area need to spend between two to three hours travelling to Belaga for banking services.

“There is no point being able to withdraw money from the proposed mobile bank service when  they have to go to Belaga to buy daily necessities. A two-way trip to Belaga costs RM30 in transportation cost.

“If we withdraw RM100 from the ATM machine, we will be left with RM70. We cannot buy much things with RM70 as most goods are expensive here,” she added. — DayakDaily