SIBU: Longhouse folk from Ulu Sungai Ngemah who were forced to resettle at the Rascom resettlement schemes in Kanowit are elated that a road will finally be built to their original dwelling place.
The road of about 40km long from Nanga Ngungun to Nanga Semujan in Ulu Sungai Ngemah will be implemented by the army under ‘Projek Jiwa Murni’.
Ulu Ngemah People’s Association (PPUN) chairman Tuai Rumah Magai Sawing said it was the association’s objective to have a road to their original dwelling place.
He believed the road would have positive impact in terms of improving the economy and livelihood, especially of the 348 families who are members of PPUN.
“Other than creating accessibility to our ancestral land, we will be able to work on our land and generate income from it. We hope when the road is completed, the relevant authorities will include us the original dwellers in any form of planning or development to take place in the area,” he said.
Tuai Rumah Magai also thanked the Barisan Nasional (BN) government for its concern for the welfare and need of the people.
For that reason, he said the people would give their undivided support to the government.
Chairman of Pang/Junan/Ulu Ngemah People’s Association, Entili Garaji concurred with Tuai Rumah Magai, saying, “The association has big hope that the road will materialise and be implemented very soon.”
“It has been 42 years since we left behind our properties and inheritance for the sake of the nation,” he said, adding that his association has 132 families registered as members.
Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing had announced the good news to the villagers during a function held at Rumah Magai at Nanga Ngungun in Kanowit on Feb 26.
The road would benefit about 50 longhouses from Nanga Ngungun, Nanga Jagau and Nanga Sekuau resettlement schemes.
Masing said the villagers had sacrificed for the nation when they were forced to relocate in order to eliminate the communist threat during the insurgency in the 1970s.
“They were then promised, among other things, six acres per family to persuade them to relocate.
“However the promises have not been fulfilled until today. At the new place, they found it hard to make a living since they do not have land to work on.
“So it is payback time for the government to build the road to honour the sacrifice of the dwellers for the security of the nation,” he said.
Earlier, Masing together with Kanowit MP Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang and Ngemah assemblyman Alexander Vincent brought Eastern Field Commander Lt Gen Datuk Mohd Zaki Mokhtar, First Infantry Commander Major-General Datuk Stephen Mundaw, Army Chief Engineer Major-General Datuk Abdul Nasser Ahmad to Ulu Sungai Ngemah so they could have a look at the area and plan the road project.