Cooler heads called on as resolution on Igan blockade still ongoing

Romeo (right) telling villagers to exercise restraint on the roadblock issue.

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By Wendy John

SIBU, Dec 11: A political secretary to the Chief Minister called for cooler heads to prevail as the roadblock issue in Tanjung Penasu, Batang Igan gets resolved.

Romeo Christopher Tegong said all parties including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should give authorities the opportunity to settle the issue even though no decision had been reached yet.

According to him, landowners from a legal standpoint had the right to decide on whether a road should be built on their land.

“However, I urge the landowner to consider opening the blockade to allow residents of the two longhouses to have access to the road,” he said to reporters after visiting the blockade today.

Romeo was scheduled to come with officials from several government agencies to conduct a site survey to get a better idea of the issue but only representatives from the Sibu Land and Survey (JTS) Department and the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) were present.

Also present at the blockade was Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) Rajang Branch chairman Bill Jugah.

Romeo assured that he would try to get JTS to issue the necessary paperwork that would allow the road allowing access to Rumah Jalak Kusau and Rumah Nita Seman to be built on the land legally.

At the same time, he said the landowner should be compensated accordingly for an amount yet to be determined by JTS for the road being constructed there.

In addition, he also wanted Sadia to write a letter to the land owner to consider removing the road block which had been there since December 3.

“This may take time, but we will speed it up and at the same time resolve the issue peacefully without any dispute,” he added.

It has been more than a week since the road block were erected by the landowner, resulting in about 300 residents from both longhouses unable to carry out their daily routines.

On Sunday, a group of residents tried to remove the concrete blocks, although discussions were still on-going.

However, Tuai Rumah Jalak Kusau ordered them to put back the concrete blocks until the issue was solved. —DayakDaily