Don’t politi­cise is­sues on BRS — Dr Jerip

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Those set­tlers, who are re­sid­ing at Kam­pung Mbuk Ayung and Kam­pung Sting, are sup­posed to come down and take pos­ses­sion of the houses to­gether with three acres of land, which are given free by the Sarawak gov­ern­ment at Ben­goh Re­set­tle­ment Scheme (BRS).

KUCH­ING: Non- gov­ern­men­tal 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 had gone over to the two vil­lages and they had made a lot of un­nec­es­sary neg­a­tive re­marks.

Com­ment­ing on one of the re­marks that these vil­lages did not have any ba­sic ameni­ties like roads, elec­tric­ity and water sup­ply, he said they were not pro­vided with these fa­cil­i­ties be­cause they were not sup­posed to be there in the first place.

“Those set­tlers, who are re­sid­ing at Kam­pung Mbuk Ayung and Kam­pung Sting, are sup­posed to come down and take pos­ses­sion of the houses to­gether with three acres of land, which are given free by the Sarawak gov­ern­ment at 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 told a press con­fer­ence at Kam­pung Re­joi com­mu­nity hall in BRS here yes­ter­day.

On top of that, the set­tlers would

Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, As­sis­tant Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion

be given a mov­ing al­lowance of RM8,000 each fam­ily if they de­cide to come down to BRS, he added.

Dr Jerip, who is Mam­bong as­sem­bly­man, said in­stead of politi­cis­ing the mat­ter, the NGOs and po­lit­i­cal par­ties, par­tic­u­larly PKR and DAP, should work with the Sarawak gov­ern­ment to en­cour­age the res­i­dents of the two vil­lages to move down to BRS.

Mov­ing down to BRS, he added, would ben­e­fit the res­i­dents in the long term and also en­sure that the water in Ben­goh Reser­voir Dam is not com­pro­mised in terms of quan­tity and qual­ity.

He re­minded that the Ben­goh Reser­voir Dam is very im­por­tant be­cause it sup­plies raw water to the whole of Kuch­ing City; there­fore must be well pro­tected to en­sure the level and qual­ity of water is main­tained.

Kam­pung Mbuk Ayung was es­tab­lished by some vil­lagers from Kam­pung Taba Sait while Kam­pung Sting was es­tab­lished by some vil­lagers from Kam­pung Re­joi and Kam­pung Pain Bo­jong.

Kam­pung Sem­ban, Kam­pung Re­joi, Kam­pung Pain Bo­jong and Kam­pung Taba Sait were the four vil­lages that were af­fected by the con­struc­tion of Ben­goh Reser­voir Dam.

Some 150 fam­i­lies from the four vil­lages had moved down to BRS while 47 had de­cided that they did not want to come down to BRS, but in­stead moved to a place called Mbuk Ayung and Sting.

Dr Jerip re­gret­ted that those stay­ing in the two places seemed to have at­tracted the at­ten­tion of some NGOs and po­lit­i­cal par­ties (not GPS).

He said some NGOs and lead­ers of po­lit­i­cal par­ties had ex­pressed their con­cern openly on so­cial me­dia that the two vil­lages were not supplied with clean water and elec­tric­ity and did not have ac­cess road.

“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 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.

On the last re­sort to bring these peo­ple down, he said he left the mat­ter to KWB be­cause that area is un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion.

He be­lieves KWB will prob­a­bly con­sider that area as water catch­ment area, which needs to be pro­tected.

“So we leave it to KWB on how they are go­ing to im­ple­ment their poli­cies to pro­tect the area to en­sure the water quan­tity and qual­ity is main­tained,” he said.

Dr Jerip said there was no time frame given to the vil­lagers to move in to BRS be­cause do­ing so might cause more prob­lems to the vil­lagers and the gov­ern­ment.

“We are giv­ing them no time frame to re­con­sider mov­ing down to take their pos­ses­sion, but we don’t want other NGOs and other po­lit­i­cal par­ties to come and in­sti­gate them and not help them to make the best de­ci­sion for the long term ben­e­fits of their chil­dren and for the peo­ple at large,” he said.

Dr Jerip said the Sarawak gov­ern­ment was also look­ing at and work­ing out var­i­ous op­tions to re­solve the NCR land is­sue above the reser­voir.

Dr Jerip (seated sec­ond right) and of­fi­cers from Pub­lic Works Depart­ment, KWB and Ru­ral Water Sup­ply Depart­ment as well as some res­i­dents of BRS.

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