Monday, February 6

Graveyard association chief questions true objectives of new federation


Chieng Buong Toon

SIBU: New doubts are starting to arise as to the true objectives of Federation of Seven Clan Associations which applied for a burial ground when Sibu United Chinese Graveyard Association had done so a few months ago.

Speaking to The Borneo Post, Chieng Buong Toon, who heads the united graveyard association, said the seven dialectical clans knew about it because they were members of the association.

“So, we see here the federation is not only a duplication of Sibu United Chinese Association (UCA) but also a duplication of Sibu United Chinese Graveyard Association as well. Two duplicates altogether.”

Chieng said over 20 Chinese organisations had their individual cemeteries under his graveyard association.

He said he had worked with them for more than two years towards Chinese cemetery development by pooling together a more efficient graveyard management under a common umbrella.

He said from there they had moved out to source for more graveyard land.

He said apart from the seven clans, Chinese surname associations had also joined them, which also had their individual graveyards.

Sibu United Chinese Graveyard Association was formed two years ago when Chieng was working with Sibu Municipal Council on the management and beautification of Chinese graveyards.

Being a councillor, he said he worked with the council to host the beautification of graveyard competitions.

“From this, we felt the need to come together for a more efficient management by pooling our resources together.”

He said the association recently spent RM500,000 to build cement paths in the cemeteries in Bukit Aup.

“These graveyards are linked together on land parcels next to each other. The individual graveyards only had earth roads.”

He said apart from building the cement paths to link up all these cemeteries, they also built two arches and put up a location map of the cemeteries and road signs.

Looking forward, he said they had already planned to source for new land for their cemetery extension.

“Now, the leaders of the seven clans are forming another federation doing the same thing. Is there such a need? What about the Chinese surname associations which also have cemeteries? I feel these groups should not be left out.”

Chieng said he was not discouraged by what the seven clans were doing, and stressed his association would instead continue working on getting more graveyard land through the state government.

On Sibu UCA, he said for 34 years it had pooled the resources of all Chinese organisations together.

“There are 104 Chinese organisations under the umbrella.”

He said its affiliate members were from commercial, religious, educational and social bodies.

“We have worked in harmony to build the Chinese community together with the help of the government.”

Chieng feared the current controversy might split the Chinese community, saying: “the whole community will ultimately have to pay a heavy price”.