Telang Usan is as unique as Long Lama durian (Travelogue Day 9)

Dennis (third right) and others giving their thumbs up for Long Lama durians.

By D’Drift Team

MIRI, July 7: Have you ever heard about Long Lama durian?

This is the curiosity we have to probe from Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau when he gave his precious time to meet the D’Drift Team today.

According to Dennis, what makes the Long Lama durian special is that it is from an ancient tree planted a century ago by their forefathers.

He shared that the durian flesh tastes so special that when the trees bear fruits, taukays (businessmen) from the city would come and ‘pao’ (contract) the trees for a few thousands ringgit each depending on the number of unripe fruits.

People picking and buying the Long Lama durians.

“So when we bring the Long Lama durians to Miri and display the name on a banner, they will be finished in no time because the taste is so special with little bit of bitterness and sweetness,” he told the D’Drift Team here today.

Durian has also been identified as one of the potential crops for commercial planting, along with coffee and oil palm, to propel Telang Usan into a developed district by 2030.

Also in the pipeline is the creation of Rural Growth Centre (RGC) at Long Lama and with that, it is envisioned that Long Lama will become the ‘capital’ of Telang Usan constituency in due time.

The second term assemblyman also highlighted that the Highland Development Agency (HDA) will be a major game changer for the whole of Baram as well as Bario to further trigger economic growth with the implementation of more roads as well as electricity and water supply.

Abang Johari (seventh left) declaring open the Long Lama Bridge on Aug 8, 2019.

Currently, 84 registered longhouses in Telang Usan have accessed to roads and utilities albeit via logging roads and Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares).

The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) lawmaker believes that his area has good potential to be developed as a tourism destination especially to some of the gems namely the Loagan Bunut lake and the Usun Apau waterfall.

As such, he now calls on the relevant tourism agencies from the federal and state level to provide better road accessibility to Usun Apau as currently it is only reachable on a two days journey to the gem of nature.

A large crowd crossing the Long Lama Bridge during the opening ceremony.

The Telang Usan constituency also has one of the most diverse ethnic community in Sarawak consisting largely of the Kayan, Kenyah and Penan apart from Chinese, Malay, Lakiput, Bisaya and Iban.

Dennis noted that the diverse ethnic groups in the district are themselves potential eco-tourism attraction.

“My background is from the tourism industry, so definitely if we can promote CAN (culture, adventure and nature), Telang Usan is one of those areas in Sarawak which has everything – rivers, jungles, mountains, waterfalls, lakes as well as culture and heritage,” he said.

Looking back at the past 10 years, Dennis pointed out that one of the major game changers that have transformed the district was the completion of the Long Lama Bridge which he proposed in his first term and implemented in the second term.

Dennis (centre) tohether with locals during the soft opening of the Long Lama Bridge.

“The Long Lama Bridge itself is a testimony that the state government cares for the people as before this, we were at the mercy of the ferry service which only operated within limited time and the people faced so much constraints especially during emergencies.

“In all, some 30,000 people benefited directly from the Long Lama Bridge,” he added.

The Long Lama Bridge was later named the Pehin Sri Haji Adenan Bin Haji Satem Bridge to recognise the contribution of the late chief minister to the people of Long Lama.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg declared open the bridge on Aug 8, 2019.

The 573-metre double lane bridge, built at a cost of RM67 million, was fully funded by the state government. The construction was completed in early April last year.

The 573-metre double lane bridge, built at a cost of RM67 million.

Although D’Drift Team had planned to go to Usun Apau, it did not materialise as Dennis had not been able to get a helicopter service for our team to visit the tallest waterfall in the country which was estimated to be 800 meter tall.

Even Dennis himself had really wished to go and bring our team there to expose the beauty of the place. When it is more viable in the future, he would like to invite DayakDaily to see the waterfall.—DayakDaily