Saturday, July 31

Mawan: SDNU to team up with KPUC on graveyard squatters issue

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KUCHING: Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU), which owns the land at Lorong Chawan 13 here where squatters reside in a graveyard, will work with the Kuching Urban Poor Committee (KUPC) towards resolving the issue.

SDNU president Tan Sri William Mawan said it is not fitting for squatters to build homes at the graveyard, more so when some of the wooden houses on stilts are built above graves.

Mawan said back in 2015, the union had collaborated with several social activists, particularly former Land and Survey Department officer Peter John Jaban, to highlight the matter to the authorities, although no positive action came about.

“With the formation of KUPC in May this year under the patronage of Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, SDNU sees the window of opportunity to revisit the issue and push for resolution,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He added he was confident that the two sides would be able to work together in addressing the issue as several SDNU exco members are also part of the committee.

“One of the solutions is to resettle the squatters at the Lorong Chawan 13 graveyard to a plot of land that is fit for the living,” he said, adding it was not right for the living to reside with the dead.

He pointed out that the graveyard has already reached its capacity, yet people are still setting up homes in the area.

“I also spoke on the same issue at an SDNU function in Sibu last month,” he said.

The graveyard, known as Pendam Tusur or Pendam Gena to locals here, is occasionally cleared on a gotong-royong (work party) basis by family members of the deceased buried there, with help from SDNU sub-committee members in charge of graves.