KUCHING: The Federation of Sri Aman Chinese Associations wants the name of Sri Aman town to be changed to Simanggang, and for the division to retain the name Sri Aman, says its president Datuk Dr Ngu Piew Seng.
He said the request was contrary to what Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had proposed on Sunday, and claimed that the federation made its proposal for the name change to the government about 20 years ago.
“We here in Sri Aman town want the name of our town changed to Simanggang because many of our old associations, organisations or businesses here still use the name ‘Simanggang’.
“We feel nostalgic about it too, which is why we requested the name change (from Sri Aman town to Simanggang town),” he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.
During an event here on Sunday, Abang Johari announced that he had agreed in principle to rename Sri Aman Division as Simanggang Division, with the town itself retaining the name Sri Aman.
Ngu, however, said he disagreed with the proposal, stressing that the town’s name deserves the change rather than the division, as changing the name of the division would only confuse people.
He said the desire to rename the town Simanggang came from those who actually live in the town, adding that when anyone mentions Simanggang, they are referring to the town and not the division.
“We want the people of Sri Aman town to have the exclusive right to call themselves ‘orang Simanggang’ (people of Simanggang), as the name refers to what our place was originally known as.
“It won’t be right if people from places like Lubok Antu or Engkilili, which are also in the same division, call themselves ‘orang Simanggang’, and I believe that they too do not want to call themselves ‘orang Simanggang’.”
Located on the banks of Batang Lupar river, Sri Aman town is located 193km from Kuching.
The town is known for having a significant Balau Iban Dayak and Teochew Chinese population, while its fried noodles and ‘pulut panggang’ are must-haves for any visitor.