By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 20: The construction of the Federation of Orang Ulu Associations of Sarawak, Malaysia (Forum) headquarters, which will be a symbolic landmark and an iconic building to recognise the unique culture and heritage of the Orang Ulu community, in Miri is expected to commence in the first quarter of next year.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari today presented a RM10 million grant to Forum in a brief ceremony at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia.
Forum advisor Datuk Gerawat Gala revealed that the headquarters will be the pride of the Orang Ulu community in Sarawak.
“The grant (received today) is part of a RM25 million pledge for the construction of the Forum headquarters during the Cultural Symposium held in November last year,” he told reporters after the ceremony.
“We are very thankful and grateful because the Chief Minister has also approved a piece of land of about five acres in Miri for the building,” he said.
“Today is the presentation of the first (portion) of the RM25 million so that we can start the project,” he added.
Gerawat, who is the Building Committee chairman, disclosed that they are currently waiting approval from the State Planning Unit (SPU) for the siting and building.
“Once we get all the approvals, we will start the tendering process. We are targeting for the earth-breaking to symbolise the commencement of the construction of the building, for April or May of 2020,” he said, adding that Abang Johari will be invited to officiate at the earth-breaking ceremony.
“That’s assuming all the necessary approvals are issued according to our plan. But it may be slightly delayed though we can’t really say for now, but the target for construction works to commence is in April or May next year,” he explained.
As for conceptual planning, he revealed that the two-storey building will feature a multipurpose hall to accommodate about 800 people, and offices for nine member associations in Forum and a gallery, apart from an open field for activities.
Gerawat who is also Deputy State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker, also pointed out that Abang Johari has also pledged RM10 million for the Orang Ulu Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the symposium.
“We are now waiting for the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to approve the registration of the Chamber,” he said.
“On behalf of the entire Orang Ulu community and its leaders, we really thanked the Chief Minister for these grants,” he reiterated.
Assistant Minister of Water Supply Datuk Liwan Lagang, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, Forum president Antonio Kahti Galis, and other Orang Ulu leaders were present. — DayakDaily