Saturday, October 19

Soon Koh moved by the kinship of Sibu folk

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COMFORTING PRESENCE: Wong greets an elderly woman at the Kampung Datu/Kampung Hilir fire relief operations centre.

SIBU: Local Government and Community Development Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh is touched by the high communal spirit of the people in helping Kampung Datu/Kampung Hilir fire victims.

Wong, just back from an official trip to Spain and who could hardly recognise the charred landscape, said he was very proud of the Sibu community irrespective of racial background, as they showed how caring and compassionate they were.

“A lot of them had come forward voluntarily to help either in kind or in cash,” Wong said.

“As I have been told just now, in terms of cash, about RM1.4 million have been collected so far,” he told a press conference at the fire relief operations centre set up at Lembaga Amanah Kabajikan Islam Sibu (Lakis) here yesterday.

Wong, who is also Second Finance Minister, had earlier visited the fire scene accompanied by Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee.

He has just returned from Bilbao in Spain to attend the World City Summit representing the chief minister.

He said he was sad to learn about the June 19 incident and that he almost could not recognise the place.

“This is the worst fire in Sibu so far. I hope the victims will get over their suffering very soon,” he said and later announced a RM50,000 in government grant for the centre.

He also appealed for more donations from the public for the victims.

Meanwhile, Dr Annuar said 45 families of 130 affected by the fire have agreed to be resettled in Sibu Jaya.

“We will conduct a survey to find out how many are willing to move to another proposed resettlement in Rantau Panjang,” he said.

In the incident on June 19 at 4pm, more than 600 people were made homeless when fire razed 60 wooden houses in Kampung Datu and Kampung Hilir.