Sun­gai Asap res­i­dents turn to SEB to help build their me­mo­rial hall

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BELAGA: The res­i­dents of Sun­gai Asap Re­set­tle­ment Scheme have asked Sarawak En­ergy Bhd (SEB) to help them set up a me­mo­rial hall in hon­our of their an­ces­tors whose graves are sub­merged in Bakun lake.

The re­quest was made on be­half of the peo­ple by Pe­manca Tony Kulleh in his speech dur­ing a wel­com­ing cer­e­mony for a visit to the re­set­tle­ment by a SEB del­e­ga­tion, led by group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Sharbini Suhaili re­cently.

The del­e­gates also in­cluded SEB group chief oper­a­tions of­fi­cer Lu Yew Hung and SEB ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent for cor­po­rate ser­vices Aisah Eden.

Ac­cord­ing to Tony, the peo­ple of Sun­gai Asap are turn­ing to SEB to help set up this me­mo­rial hall be­cause of the big sac­ri­fice they made when they had to re­lo­cate from their an­ces­tral land to make way for the Bakun hy­dro­elec­tric­ity power (HEP) dam con­struc­tion.

“The peo­ple have given way for the de­vel­op­ment of the dam, but the burial ground of their an­ces­tors will be for­ever sub­merged in the lake.

“There­fore there is a need for a me­mo­rial hall to be con­structed for the peo­ple to re­mem­ber and hon­our their an­ces­tors.”

Tony said the com­mu­nity had pro­posed to the gov­ern­ment be­fore and Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Tun Razak had said that the gov­ern­ment would set aside RM2 mil­lion to build the hall but to date, there is no fur­ther de­vel­op­ment on the promised al­lo­ca­tion.

He added that be­sides build­ing the me­mo­rial hall, there is a need to set up a fund to main­tain it. In this re­gard, he hoped that SEB would al­lo­cate some long-term busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for the lo­cals to help them set up the main­te­nance fund.

Ear­lier in his speech, Tony who is the or­gan­is­ing chair­man of the event, thanked the SEB del­e­gates for vis­it­ing Sun­gai Asap and meet­ing the peo­ple at Uma Bakah.

“We are happy that the man­age­ment of SEB has de­cided to visit Sun­gai Asap after the group took over Bakun dam, to en­gage the peo­ple di­rectly af­fected by Bakun HEP and to un­der­stand them bet­ter.”

Tony hoped that SEB would con­tinue to as­sist the peo­ple of Sun­gai Asap like what Sarawak Hidro – the pre­vi­ous owner of Bakun HEP dam – had done through the Balui Lake Na­tive As­so­ci­a­tion (BLNA), said to be the only as­so­ci­a­tion recog­nised by Sarawak Hidro and other re­lated gov­ern­ment agen­cies as the le­git­i­mate voice of the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties from Sun­gai Asap and Belaga af­fected by the HEP.

Sharbini, mean­while, thanked the res­i­dents for the grand re­cep­tion ac­corded to the SEB del­e­gates for their first visit to the set­tle­ment.

He as­sured the Sun­gai Asap folk that SEB would con­tinue what­ever Sarawak Hidro had agreed to im­ple­ment, fol­low through and en­hance them through their cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) projects.

“SEB will con­tinue to col­lab­o­rate with the lo­cals and BLNA in help­ing the peo­ple who are af­fected by the dam pro­ject to live bet­ter lives,” he said, an­nounc­ing a do­na­tion of RM20,000 to BLNA to sup­port its oper­a­tions.

Among those present were state administrative of­fi­cer Kuba Lusat and lo­cal com­mu­nity lead­ers Pe­manca Umek Jeno, Penghulu Sag­ing Bit and Penghulu Ibau Ajan.

Sharbini (third left) re­ceives a ‘Berat Lapik’ – the Orang Ulu tra­di­tional mat – as a me­mento from Tony.

Sharbini (sixth right) presents the RM20,000 do­na­tion to Tony, rep­re­sent­ing BLNA.

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