KUCHING: Non-government organisations (NGOs) and political parties are urged not to politicise the lack of basic amenities at Kampung Mbuk Ayung and Kampung Sting in Ulu Padawan.
Assistant Minister of Transportation Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said many NGOs and political parties had made several unnecessary and negative remarks on the two villages despite not understanding the circumstances surrounding it.
The main complaints from these NGOs and political parties were that the villages in question do not possess basic amenities such as water, electricity and roads.
Dr Jerip explains that these lack of amenities are not due to neglect and oversight by the government, but are a result of the informal formation of the two villages.
“Those settlers, who are residing at Kampung Mbuk Ayung and Kampung Sting, are supposed to come down and take their possession of their houses together with three acres of land, which are given to them by the Sarawak government through Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS).
“The houses, which were built for them, are already there for them to take possession. These houses, if left unoccupied and not maintained, may deteriorate as time passes,” he said to a press conference at Kampung Rejoi Community Hall, BRS here yesterday.
On top of that, Dr Jerip added there would also be a RM8,000 moving allowance available for each family that decides to relocate to the BRS.
Moving down to BRS, he said, would benefit the residents in a long-term and also help ensure that the water source in the Bengoh Reservoir Dam will not be compromise in terms of quantity and quality.
He noted that this endeavour is especially important as the Bengoh Reservoir Dam supplies raw water to the whole of Kuching City.
Rather than politicising the living situation of the two villages, Dr Jerip urged the NGOs and political parties to instead work with the Sarawak government to encourage the residents of the two villages to move down to BRS and reclaim their rightful houses and land.
“I want to make it very clear that the families from these two newly established villages must now take possession of their properties over here at BRS.
“If they wish to move in, just inform us so that we can prepare everything for them. We will call the Resident to prepare their moving allowance and the various agencies concerned like Sesco and Kuching Water Board (KWB) to help them to do the reconnection of the electricity and water supply.
“They need to inform us for their own convenience and we are calling all the remaining 47 families in the two villages to come down,” he said.
However that being said, Dr Jerip added that there is no specific time frame for the villagers to move into the BRS as he noted that it would only cause more distress to the villagers.
“We are giving them no time frame to reconsider moving down to take their possessions, but we don’t want NGOs and political parties to come and instigate conflict. This is not helping them to make the best decision for the long term benefits of their children and for the people at large,” he said.
The construction of the Bengoh Dam Reservoir had previously affected four villages – Kampung Semban, Kampung Rejoi, Kampung Pain Bojong and Kampung Taba Sait.
Some 150 families from the four villages had moved down to the BRS but 47 families had instead moved to the areas now known as Mbuk Ayung and Sting.
Kampung Mbuk Ayung was estrablished by some villagers from Kampung Taba Sait while Kampung Sting was established by some villagers from Kampung Rejoi and Kampung Pain Bojong.