Zuraida to Sarawak gov’t: Handle Tuai Rumah allowance professionally

Zuraida Kamaruddin.

KUCHING, July 29: Minister of Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin calls on Sarawak government to handle allowance for Tuai Rumah “professionally”.

She said when she met up with the Persatuan Kebajikan Rumah Panjang Bintulu yesterday, some Tuai Rumahs told her that the state government did not give them allowance because they were not recognised, just because they were appointed by Pakatan Harapan (PH) representatives.

“I think this has to be rectified and standardise because they are legally and legitimately elected by the people in the longhouse, and they have to be recognised and the state has to pay them.

“The state government has to handle this in a more professional manner,” said Zuraida at a press conference at Kuching International Airport today.

Zuraida also urged the state government to gazette longhouse land so that her ministry would be able to channel aid and development programmes to longhouse folks.

She said at the moment her ministry found it to be difficult to channel development programmes because the land does not belong to the longhouse folks.

Zuraida said the committee to be called ‘Jawatankuasa Dasar Rumah Panjang Negara’ would be set up to find out the best policy on how to improve the standard of living of longhouse folks. The committee would be headed by Saratok assemblyman Ali Biju.

Meanwhile, Zuraida also slammed the state government for not adhering to the policies set by the federal government in providing land for her ministry’s affordable housing projects for Sarawak.

She said when she received the list of 11 plots of land on June 28, she was told that some of the plots were too far out and lack basic infrastructures.

“We have our own federal policy. The houses must be in accordance with our Affordable House Policy and we have to make the decision, not the state government.

“The state government can propose the land but we will take a look at the land whether it is suitable or not – not too far away, must be strategic and must have infrastructure – then we will look into funding the houses.

“After I have reviewed the land, I would have to meet up with the Chief Minister (Datuk Patingi Abang Johari Tun Openg) by the end of August, and the exco for housing to highlight to them that these are the policies that they have to adhere to.

“They must follow our (federal) policy before we can approve. Otherwise I will have to look for federal land that is available in Sarawak. I’m going to verify them and my ministry will build houses there as federal project, not state project,” she stressed.— DayakDaily