BINTULU: The local youths of Jepak do not feel left out from the rapid development here, although they are separated from the town by Sungai Kemena.
Nazurah Pawi, 21, who works at the ticketing counter at the Jepak wharf, told BAT 7 that living across river from the town has never been an issue for the youths.
“It’s still convenient for us to go to town and work there since the ferry ride only costs 50 sen and it takes less than five minutes per trip. Every day before 8am, you can see the young people parking their motorcycles at this wharf before boarding the ferry to go to work,” she said.
According to Nazurah, the majority of the youths are working in retail at the town area, or at the Jepak Industrial Estate which is about 8km away from Jepak.
Looking across the river, Nazurah could see new buildings popping up in Bintulu.
“I also notice that the population is getting bigger – more and more people from outside are coming here to work. It’s a good thing because it means that Bintulu is developing. I also don’t see myself moving out from here.”
The villages in Jepak, as a whole, are considered a traditional fishing community, despite the rapid development in the town.
According to her, only the men go out to sea.
“The majority of the women here never go out to sea – not even me. Usually the womenfolk help in making local products like ‘belacan’ (fermented shrimp paste) and ‘cencaluk’ (fermented krill and shrimps),” she said.
On another subject, Nazurah pointed out that there is a need to have a housing area in Jepak.
“The civil servants such as teachers being posted to Jepak do not have places or quarters to stay. They usually rent rooms from the families here.”
Moreover, Nazurah said the housing area could also cater for the local young adults, so that they would not have to move far from their parents upon settling down.