Association proposes special firefighting unit for every longhouse in Sarawak

Chan (second right) hitting the gong to launch the Sadia pre-Gawai 2023 celebration dinner on May 27, 2023.

By William Isau

SIBU, May 28: A request has been put forward to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to consider placing a special firefighting unit for every longhouse in Sarawak.

According to Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) permanent chairman Munan Laja, this is due to frequent longhouse fires.

“From 2015 to 2020, 121 longhouses were destroyed by fires. Therefore, I propose the government establish a special firefighting unit in every longhouse in Sarawak. There are a total of 5,000 longhouses in the region,” he said.

He said this during the Sadia pre-Gawai 2023 celebration dinner last night (May 27).

He added that two more requests had been forwarded to the prime minister—to recruit more Iban language teachers and set up a special fund for Dayak entrepreneurs.

On the lack of Iban language teachers, he said primary schools in the region are short of 2,100 teachers while secondary schools lack 26.

The same issue was brought up in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting on May 18.

“I kindly request the Education Ministry to address this issue,” said Munan.

As for the request for a special fund for Dayak entrepreneurs, he said it was to assist them in developing their lands.

“The Iban people possess ample land, including Native Customary Rights (NCR) land, but we lack capital.

“Therefore, on behalf of SADIA, I am requesting a special fund for Dayak entrepreneurs who possess land but require capital to develop them,” he said.

Political secretary to the prime minister, Chan Ming Kai, who represented Anwar at the dinner, said he would relay the matters to the latter.

On behalf of Anwar, Chan later announced an allocation of RM20,000 to Sadia for their activities.

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Alice Lau; Sibu MP Oscar Ling; Sarawak Deputy Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Michael Tiang; and community leaders Temenggong Stanley Gramong Bandar and Temenggong Datuk Vincent Lau were also present. — DayakDaily