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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, July 12: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas wants to bring an end to urban poverty among the Iban community in the state.
His first move is to set up a committee between his Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Ministry and the Persatuan Ketua Masyarakat dan Tuai Rumah Kaum Iban Daerah Kuching (Pemaik), to collect data of all Ibans under their jurisdiction.
Their findings would help the state government come up with programmes on how to effectively help and deliver assistance to the underprivileged Iban community in state capital.
“I’m getting a hold of all the penghulus and tuai rumahs in the Kuching area. They are representing various groups facing a lot of issues. Some of their communities are living in squatters, some unemployed, some also have children having social issues, they are enduring a hard city life.
“I asked them to form a committee so that we can work out a concerted effort on how to assist their communities,” Uggah said at the thanksgiving dinner organised by Pemaik here yesterday.
He hoped the data will be ready by the end of next month so that issues concerning urban poverty amongs the Iban community can be addressed as soon as possible.
Uggah noted that the inspiration of the community leaders was to see the people having proper jobs, housing, good livelihood, as well as quality education for the children and not succumbing to social ills.
“This committee, which could be the first to be set up to look into such matter in the state, will be one of the machineries. We must address this, otherwise our economic policy will not be able to address the imbalance.
“We don’t want to see some group have no food to eat, while some are too rich. This would not augur well for the state and the country,” he continued.
If the model is proven effective, Uggah said it would be applied to other urban areas in the state.
He pointed out the need to tackle the issue immediately considering the increased rural-urban migration. About 70 per cent of the state population are centred in the urban areas.
“Migration is inevitable because jobs are here, attraction is here, but when they come here can they face a life here? Can they get a job? Can they get a house?” Uggah said. — DayakDaily