Reps rushing to help longhouse fire victims get back on their feet

Liwan (white shirt) and Kennedy (to his left) being briefed by the locals on the fire incident at Uma Bawang, Sg Asap. Ugak is walking behind Kennedy.

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, April 19: Hopes are high that the federal and state governments will assist to rebuild longhouses with a total of 116 `bilek’ (door) in four villages that have been razed by fire recently.

Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon said these 116 doors include 44 in Uma Badeng — which was destroyed on April 16; 30 in Uma Balong; 15 in Uma Badeng, Koyan; and 27 in Uma Badeng, Long Urun.

“We want to rebuild the longhouses as soon as possible. We are in the process of gathering the data of the victims so that none are left out.

“Once we have the final report, we will submit it to the relevant agency to request for funds. I hope the government of the day (both federal and state) could approve special funds to rebuild all these longhouses affected by fire,” Kennedy told DayakDaiy today.

Kennedy (5th left), Ugak (6th left) and Liwan (centre) presenting essential items to the fire victims of Uma Bawang.

Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang, meanwhile, reiterated that it was high time for the authorities to provide better fire prevention to the residents of the Sg Asap Resettlement Scheme.

He also suggested that a proper village extension programme be implemented for all 15 longhouses in Sg Asap due to family expansion.

“The wooden longhouses are getting old after more than two decades. I hope the government will assist with housing for the resettlers, similar to the ultra-modern Darul Hana housing scheme in Kuching.

“After all, these people have sacrificed a lot for the development of the whole state when they agreed to move out from their respective longhouses to give way for the construction of the Bakun hydroelectric power dam,” said Liwan.

Liwan, who is also Assistant Minister of Water Supplies, said his longhouse at Uma Balui Liko, which is located nearby Uma Bawang, also faced a similar incident in 2001 when three blocks with 50 doors were burned down.

Ugak (3rd left) presenting cash donations to the representative of the fire victims of Uma Bawang in the presence of Kennedy (4th left) and Liwan (2nd left).

Yesterday, Liwan, along with Kennedy and Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong, visited the fire victims at Uma Bawang. While there, they gave cash donations amounting to RM57,000.

The donations were from Deputy Chief Minister cum Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing (RM20,000), Ugak (RM20,000), Liwan (RM15,000), KM Belaga RM1,000, GPS Belaga Youth (RM1,000 and necessary items).

GPS Murum Women Wing, Kampung Melayu Belaga, the staff of Samalaju State constituency Service Centre, Tubau Action Committee and Semado Sdn Bhd also donated items to the victims.

Staff from the relevant agencies such as the police, National Registration Department and the Welfare Department were also present to take reports of lost documents and to give aid. — DayakDaily