SIBU: Temenggong Vincent Lau Lee Ming has appealed to the Seven Clan Associations to change their approach in applying to the state government for a 200-acre burial ground for the Chinese community.
He said there was always a better alternative when applying to the government for land instead of registering the associations to get the needed financial assistance from the authorities.
He described the current approach taken by the seven clan associations as very negative and would cause intense disunity among the Chinese community here.
“By all means, go ahead with your application to get the land but if possible, try to refrain from registering a new Chinese association as this could cause misunderstanding among the Chinese community,” he said.
Moreover, Lau said it would also set a very bad precedent and it’s something the Chinese community would not like to see.
“It will not only cause friction but also confusion and disunity in the Chinese community,” he added when commenting about the controversy affecting the Sibu United Chinese Association.
The seven clan associations involved in the formation of a new federation representing the major dialectical groups in Sibu are the Foochow Association, Kwong Wai Siew Association, Hainan Association, Sibu Hakka Association, Sarawak Chiang Chuan Association, Sibu Hin Hua Pou Sen Association and Teo Chew Association.
The seven clan associations, together with other Chinese associations came together some 30 years ago to form the Sibu United Chinese Association which has catered to the needs of the people by pooling the resources of the Chinese and unifying their organizations under one umbrella.
The current issue cropped up after Chai Thien Sian, chairman of the Chiang Chuan Association, also believed to be the prime mover behind the issue, led a group of seven clan associations to visit the Chief Minister in Kuching recently.
Lau said it was very unfortunate that some people who wanted to apply for the government’s assistance in getting the burial land had decided to form a federation, thereby superseding the existence of UCA.
“I view this as a very undesirable act as having another organisation will surely create a possible split in the Chinese community in Sibu.”
Lau agreed that it was the right of any individual, association or NGO to apply to the authorities for financial assistance or any assistance in kinds.
“But we feel that the move taken by the seven clan associations is a step too far that could split Chinese stability. We do not want to see this happen because we want all the Chinese organisations in Sibu to be united under one umbrella.”
Lau said the UCA was always there to look after the interests of the Chinese community and he did not see any necessity for the formation of the Federation of Seven Chinese Clan Associations.