KUCHING, Sept 20: The Association Of Iban Community Leaders in Kuching City (Pemaik) has been urged to work closely with any non-governmental organisation (NGO) interested in helping especially the Iban squatters in the city.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah pointed out that squatters faced many problems like unemployment, lack of access to proper public amenities and facilities as well as many challenges.
“The NGOs will have some programmes to help. Such co-operation and ties should be sought for and nurtured,” he said when officiating at the fourth annual general meeting (AGM) of the association here.
He was represented at the function by political secretary to the Chief Minister Petrus Igat Mathious.
Uggah, who is Pemaik patron, also advised the association to work closely with the District Office.
“We need government assistance in dealing with and finding some solutions to these problems,” he opined.
He was glad to note that the association was doing its part to help preserve the Iban’s culture and traditions, besides being a vital bridge between the government and the community.
“PEMAIK leaders can disseminate information of various government policies and programmes aimed at upgrading the quality of life of the community,” he said.
With the AGM and the election of new office bearers, he hopes that Pemaik can chart out its future direction and transformation programmes even better.
“Then it can stay relevant, be recognised and well respected as well as be the term of reference for Iban adat (customary law), culture and traditions,” he added.
Earlier in his speech, Pemaik current chairman Penghulu Gunting Hiang informed that it had been proposed for Pemaik to be officially launched in November this year.
He revealed that the association comprised of one Pemanca, seven Penghulus and 14 settlement
Meanwhile, when met later, Petrus disclosed that some 63 families comprising 259 people had been identified squatting at SDNU cemetery area near Chawan Road here.
“We are still talking to them, besides discussing with the state government on how to help them to relocate to other or new settlement area,” he said.
Kuching Iban community paramount leader, who is also Pemaik advisor, Temenggong Datu Bernard Agan and Pemanca John Tambi were among those present.— DayakDaily