Kampung Bengoh folk yearn for farm road, bridge

Sanjan (second from right) with villagers at the site where they plan to build a hanging bridge.

KUCHING, June 26: Villagers of Kampung Bengoh who did not relocate to the Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS) are struggling to carry out agriculture work without a farm road and hanging bridge.

Sanjan Daik, political secretary to Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen, shared in a media release today that despite the fact that the Bengoh Dam was built not far from Kampung Bengoh, the villagers were not asked to move to BRS, as the village is situated off the lower part of the dam, on the plain of another river called Sungai Abang.

“The villagers have to walk on footpaths through durian gardens and cross the river, which is more than 100 feet wide, in order to go to their farms on the other side of the river,” he lamented.

“But the main problem is when it rains, the river will spill and flood parts of the area. The villagers are unable to cross the river to go to their farms or remain stranded at the farms until flood waters subside because there is no bridge.”

For ages, the villagers have been walking to their farms, wading through the shallow part of the river.

Villager Henry Karas Sasu said the absence of a road and hanging bridge had been a major hurdle to improving their standard of living.

“The government has not come in to build a farm road and hanging bridge to help us get to our farms,” he claimed.

Hence, fellow villager Akiu Nore said they planned to build a small hanging bridge to solve the problem.

The villagers hope the government can assist by allocating RM50,000 for the farm road and hanging bridge projects, which they intend to carry out on a ‘gotong-royong’ basis.

The villagers opined that small projects with small amount of funds should be carried out on a ‘gotong-royong’ basis in order to minimise costs and maximise results.

Sanjan shared they were envious of the villagers in Padawan, who have access to good farm roads built by the government at BRS.

The people settling at BRS were villagers who were displaced from their original villages (Kampung Sait, Semban, Bojong, Rejoi) due to the construction of Bengoh Dam.

“With good farm roads, the villagers at BRS can easily plant crops on the three-acre land given by the government to every household,” he said.

“They can also increase their income and uplift their standard of living without the need of being too dependent on job opportunities in the public and private sectors.”

During the visit, Sanjan presented RM2,000 from Chong to the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK). — DayakDaily