Thursday, July 7

‘Hands off Mount Serumbu’

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A company has started clearing land in the historical mountain and the villagers want its licence revoked

KUCHING: Residents from 17 villages located in the vicinity of Mount Serumbu, Bau, will stage a peaceful demonstration today to urge the authorities to prevent the historical mountain from being quarried.

The demonstration will be held at Batu Kasah near Siniawan Bazaar at 3pm.

Advisor to the 17 villages, Stephen Sinyum Mitit, appealed to the authorities to revoke the licence of a company to quarry the mountain that is steeped in history, including the fact that the first White Rajah James Brooke built his cottage there.

It is understood that the company’s workers have been clearing land in the mountain for the past two months.

“Mount Serumbu is the ancestral land for the people of Serumbu area. The mountain area has been cultivated by our forefathers even before the Brooke era, which is more than 200 years ago.

“As such, we have the right on Serumbu Mountain,” Sinyum told thesundaypost here yesterday.

He added that Mount Serumbu also contained historical sites such as James Brooke’s cottage and the world-renowned British scientist Alfred Wallace’s Trail.

“These historical sites have to be preserved for public interest and knowledge, and it would be developed as tourist product as announced by the ministry of tourism recently.”

Sinyum, an MP for Bau-Lundu in the late 1960s, pointed out that the mountain should also not be allowed to be quarried as many of the 17 villages surrounding the area still depend on the water from the mountain for their consumption through the gravity feed system.

These 17 villages are Peninjau Lama, Peninjau Baru, Sega, Kopit, Segobang, Sogoh, Skio, Seromah, Seropak, Skiat Baru, Skiat Lama, Merembeh, Sibulung, Podam, Skandis Lama, Skandis Baru and Sg Pinang.

“Mount Serumbu is also rich in flora and fauna where there are still many species of exotic plants and wildlife there. Due to that it has been a favourite area for local researchers and scientists to conduct their studies on biodiversity.”

He cautioned that if the mountain were to be quarried, then some 10,000 from the 17 villages would suffer due to its close proximity to the mountain.

“If the mountain were to be quarried, then our environment would definitely be affected as dusts, noise and water pollution could not be prevented. And if that happens, we will suffer.”