Monday, April 22

Rural entrepreneur dreams of better days with good road


Jenny’s eatery located by the Marudi Junction along Miri – Bintulu Road.

Jenny checking on her food at her barbeque station.

Jenny attending to her customer at her eatery.

Empaling Gindau

KUCHING: Life is good for Jenny Ungi but it could be better if there are more people stopping at her eatery located at the Marudi junction at Mile 14, Miri- Bintulu Road.

At 61 years old, her entrepreneurial spirit should be emulated by any woman who dares to venture into business in the rural areas.

“I was once a cleaner at Miri Airport and retired last year at 60. Even in this retirement age I still want to earn a living to help add to the income of my husband,”she told BAT7 yesterday during a stop for refreshment at her eatery after  a two-and-a-half hour drive from Bintulu Town.

Jenny, who hails from Pinku Village just a few minutes drive from the junction, said that she did not want to bother her children to care of her and her husband.

“I rather look for my own income and earn a living while I still can. On a good day I make RM50 nett and on a bad day RM30,” she enthused.

She hopes to have a better business once the Marudi Road to connect the main road of Miri to Bintulu is completed.

She said that the junction is strategic for her eatery business and she is glad that she was given the chance to do the business at her current location.

“In fact the land around here is still under our village so the community leader only allowed those from Pinku Village to do business here.

“So I rented a small area for RM100 a month from the land owner, which is  enough to build my humble wooden


“Since having my eatery business for a year, I notice that if there are big events in Marudi Town or any nearby villages, I receive more customers, mostly Iban and Chinese, who stop at my eatery and that is the reason the Marudi Road has to be completed, not only for the longhouse community living along the road but also to help boost my income,” she said.

Jenny does everything herself and that is why she can only focus on barbequed chicken wings, chicken parts, sausages and selling drinks .

“If I cook dishes, I need someone to assist me and I do not have that at the moment. However, occasionally my grandchildren would come during the school holiday to help me.

She said that if electricity is supplied to her eatery she would probably extend her business hours.

“As for now I open at 8am to 6pm daily and fortunately I have water supply. I am paying for it as there is a water meter installed near my eatery,” she added pointing to a few feet away from her barbeque stand.

While BAT 7 visited SK Sg Arang, they stopped at Rh Sayun, some 12 kilometres from Marudi Town.

A farmer and villager from the 28-door longhouse, Empaling Gindau, when met by BAT 7 said that they really need the Marudi Road to be completed and properly tar-sealed.

“This will definitely help our village folks and people from Marudi Town to be linked to other bigger towns in the state. We are also like any other road users in the country and we also pay road tax, so we should have a proper and good infrastructure,” he said.

Empaling said that the most important need for their longhouse is basic infrastructures.

“We have the road despite not tar–sealed, but now we also really need water supply to our longhouse as we do not have this amenity at the moment,” he lamented.