State government to help build new longhouse for fire victims — Gerawat

Gerawat (seventh left) with his entourage and longhouse folk of Long Selaan pose in front of the 12-door longhouse which was razed to the ground on June 8.

MIRI: There is a ray of hope for 12 households of over 400 residents whose longhouse at Long Selaan, Ulu Baram was razed to the ground on June 8 to live in a new place as there are efforts to build a new longhouse for them.

Mulu assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala, who flew to Long Selaan yesterday, is very hopeful of building the new longhouse with assistance from the state government to end the misery of folks of the over-70-year-old longhouse, which he regards as historical and a heritage of the people in the rural areas.

He thanked various individuals, associations and government agencies who had come forward to donate in cash and kind to help lighten the burden of the victims, including Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas who had pledged a cash donation of RM12,000 to the village security and development committee.

“Datuk Amar Douglas said the committee which is taking care of the government grant to rebuild the burnt longhouse will have a meeting tomorrow (today).

“All necessary forms and documents will be handed to him (Uggah) tomorrow (today) before the meeting to consider the grant assistance from the state government,” Gerawat told The Borneo Post when met during his visit to Long Selaan yesterday.

Gerawat said many among the Orang Ulu communities were trying to find ways to help the fire victims.

“This is one of the things that we should be very proud of, a custom or traditional practice that we want to continue for our love for our neighbours and family members,” he said.

On the cause of the fire, Gerawat said it had not been ascertained as the investigation record had not been released.

“We wait for Bomba (Fire and Rescue Department) to let us know what caused the fire.

“I have also contacted SEB (Sarawak Energy) so they can come here to ensure safety of the villagers is well taken care of,” he said.

At the event, Gerawat also announced the donation of poly pipes and toilet bowls, among other items, as requested by the headman of the burnt longhouse, Peter Tingang Lalo.

He also disclosed the committee had received donations from Baram MP Anyi Ngau (RM12,000), Murum assemblyman and Sarawak Kenyah National Association president Kennedy Chukpai Ugon (RM6,000), Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau (RM6,000), and himself (RM12,000) for the 12 households to purchase essential items.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah will also donate essentials worth up to RM5,000 to each affected household.

Also present during the visit were acting Miri Resident Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, Temenggong Joseph Ngau Lian and a political secretary to the chief minister Charles Balan Seling.

The 12-door longhouse and community hall at Long Selaan, Ulu Baram were destroyed in a fire on June 8. No casualties and injuries were reported.

Long Selaan is a Kenyah village located some 10 hours’ drive by 4WD vehicle from Miri.

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