‘Our Christmas wish is a home to call our own’

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Dec 21: It is the Christmas wish of Kampung Chawan resident Belin Budin, 46, and his wife Catherine Atang, 36, to have a proper home of their own one day.

Their current house at Chawan Road here is one of 63 houses built on a land belonged to Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), which has been earmarked as a cemetery.

The couple has three children aged between 13 and 20.

Belin has been working as a school gardener, while his wife a school cleaner. Both of them earned a combined income of about RM2,000 per month.

“We know we have been squatting on SDNU Cemetery but we have no choice as we can’t afford to buy a house. So, our greatest wish is to own a home one day,” Belin told DayakDaily here today.

He added that his family and 40 others from Kampung Chawan are ready to move out, as the state government has agreed to look for suitable housing lots for them.

As a temporary measure, they were also willing to be relocated to low-cost flats at Batu Gong, near Siburan, he continued.

“Most of us are law-abiding citizens. All we want is proper homes for our families,” he reiterated.

Belin is from Lingga, Sri Aman, while his wife is from Sebuyau.

Rossita outside her house.

Meanwhile, Belin’s sister Rossita Budin 44, said everyone including their children have gotten used to living in the cemetery.

“My only strange experience living here was when one of the graveyard’s tiled-cover suddenly lifted up one afternoon when there was an afternoon rain (hujan panas) at 2 pm,” she recalled.

In this regards, Belin, who is an Assembly of God Church member, said there was nothing to fear if one is a believer (in God).

“We just live our lives and hoped and pray that our dream will comes true one day,” he continued.

The graveyards as seen from Rossita’s house.
Villager Averline Bujang 19, and her child Laura, 2, with other children at Kampung Chawan.

Two days ago, Kuching Division Iban paramount chief, Temenggong Dato Bernard Agan, informed Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas that 40 out of the 63 squatter families in Kampung Chawan have agreed to be relocated.

He added that 20 families have decided to stay put as they felt they would not be able to pay the RM150 monthly rent at the new place. — DayakDaily