By Peter Sibon and Nancy Nais
KUCHING, April 15: Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon was shocked to hear the news that a fire incident has destroyed Uma Bawang in Sg Asap, while he was on the way to Kapit for an important meeting.
“My priority now is to go back to visit the fire victims tomorrow morning to provide whatever assistance I can offer to them,” Kennedy told Dayakdaily this evening.
He also will initiate seeking immediate assistance from all the relevant authorities such as the Welfare Department and the National Registration Department (JPN).
“I have just contacted JPN. They will come send their mobile unit to go over to assist the fire victims in Sg Asap from April 18-19. Tomorrow they will have to assist the fire victims in Selangau,” he said.
When contacted, Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang said it’s high time for the authorities to provide better fire prevention measures to the residents of Sg Asap Resettlement Scheme.
“The wooden longhouses are getting old after more than two decades. I hope that the government will assist with housing for the resettlers similar to the ultra modern Darul Hanna 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 Bakun hydroelectric power dam,” he said.
Liwan, who is also the Assistant Minister of Water Supply, said his longhouse at Uma Balui Liko, which is located near Uma Bawang also faced a similar incident way back in 2001 when three blocks with 50 doors were burnt down.
“I am appealing to the plantations, timber companies surrounding BRS Asap/Koyan and agencies to come forward to render help to the victims,” he said.
Hulu Rajang Parti Keadilan Rakyat chief Abun Sui Anyit also appealed for assistance from generous souls for the fire victims as they are now left with nothing.
In the incident which took place around 6pm today, at least 30 families at Rumah Panjang Uma Bawang were left homeless when fire razed their longhouse to the ground.
Firefighters from Bintulu rushed to the scene which is about one-and-a-half hours away from the fire station. — DayakDaily