NGO proposes Permai Lake Garden be turned into Dayak food court

Chambai (front) speaking at the closing of the Sibu Gawai Bazaar.

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By William Isau

SIBU, May 23: A non-governmental organisation (NGO) is proposing that Permai Lake Garden here which recently hosted the Sibu Gawai Bazaar, be converted into a Dayak food court.

Speaking at the closing of the bazaar last night, Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) Sibu chairman Chambai Lindong said he will write a letter to the Sibu Municipal Council (MPS) regarding the matter.

“With this food court, the Dayak community will have a permanent place to do business. So far, Sibu does not have a Dayak food court compared to other parts of the State. The Dayak food court, will also be an attraction for foreign visitors, especially tourists coming to Sibu,” he said.

Chambai said the Dayaks have a variety of food of great attraction and the said food court can be a landmark and symbol of the local Dayak community.

He recalled that about seven to eight years ago, he had made a similar proposal to the then Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang.

“I had brought the matter to the previous Deputy Chief Minister where it was agreed to by him. Then he instructed a minister in Sibu to help us with that. However, due to the unavailability of land and site, the matter was shelved,” he said.

Three years ago, he again raised the subject with Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg when he attended a Sibu Business Community Dialogue Programme.

Chambai said, Abang Johari then agreed and approved the application and instructed leaders in Sibu to look into it.

Due to the same problem (lack of land/site), Chambai said, the wish was not fulfilled.

“However, after we implemented the Sibu Gawai Bazaar in this place (Taman Tasik Permai) we see this place is very suitable. In this park there are several shop lots that are empty and not rented anymore following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think it is very appropriate if our bazaar site is considered to be a Dayak food court instead of leaving it empty. Before setting up this bazaar, we will clean the place of bird droppings because it has been abandoned for a long time.

“Instead of leaving it idle, why can’t SMC give us this place to be used as a Dayak food court?” he asked.

Chambai noted that the Sibu Gawai Bazaar which was held from May 13 to 22, had received a very encouraging response and therefore he was confident that if the Dayak food court was established there it would definitely become a destination for many visitors.

The recent Sibu Gawai Bazaar was organised by SMC with the cooperation of Dayak NGOs in Sibu. — DayakDaily