(From left) Christopher Ranggau, Yong, Chieng, Lidam, Ting, Mohammed Abdullah, Christopher Kelebit, and others are seen in a group photo for the event. – Photo by Conny Banji
SIBU (July 6): The Dayak community in Sibu has been called on to work together with the government and local councils to address rural-urban migration issues, especially involving squatters.
In making the call, Katibas assemblyman Lidam Assan said Sibu continues to be a transit town for those coming from rural areas such as Song.
“As we know that Sibu also suffers from rural-urban migration. Therefore, it is a great task for the councils to address the issues, especially concerning illegal squatters here.
“Whoever they are, they are Sarawakians who chose to settle here as they find Sibu provides greener pastures for them.
“Therefore, I urge our Dayak councillors to look at how we can manage the rural-urban migration issues here,” he said when officiating at Sibu Municipal Council’s (SMC) ‘Ngiling Bidai’ ceremony last night.
Lidam suggested they look at the bigger picture and from the aspect of new housing, as well as to create a new post for Dayak community leaders to look after the community in the town area.
He said the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic proved that the Dayak community in the town area needs a penghulu.
“We should be working towards that to have a representative or somebody to look after our people, especially the squatters.
“I understand that because from a survey that we conducted last time, there are 10,000 squatters in Sibu and most of them are our people.
“Therefore, I hope the council, especially Dayak councillors, have to work extra hard to relocate, improve, and upgrade the situation that we have, especially involving the squatters in Sibu,” he said.
He said suggested SMC should look at Sibu as a hub for logistics with the relocation of the Indonesia capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan.
“Sibu is the central part of Borneo that can be accessed from my area Katibas. From Katibas border to Kalimantan up to Tanjung Manis is only 270km.
“Therefore, it requires our councillors to think and plan for the greater Sibu as we will be faced by logistics business in Kalimantan in years to come when the new capital Nusantara is fully developed,” he said.
Lidam also called on local Dayak community leaders to work together to start submitting requests for a new cemetery for the community here.
Among those present were SMC chairman Clarence Ting, SMC deputy chairman Mohammed Abdullah Izkandar Roseley, acting secretary Yong Ing Chu, Sibu Deputy Resident Christopher Ranggau Unting, Bukit Assek assemblyman Joseph Chieng, and organising chairman Christopher Kelebit Ansa.