Committee to identify urban poor Ibans, says Sarawak deputy CM

Amar Douglas (right) said there were many facilities and programmes from both the government and the private sectors available to help the urban poor. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Amar Douglas (right) said there were many facilities and programmes from both the government and the private sectors available to help the urban poor. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, April 28 — A committee of Iban community leaders has been formed to identify urban poor Ibans in the capital city, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.

He said the committee, comprising one Temenggong, one Pemanca, seven Penghulu and a number of Tuai Rumah, would identify those in need of help and to know their problems.

“There are many fortunate Ibans who have better lives, have their own houses and their children are doing very well... They can compete with the rest of the communities in the city.

“On the other hand, we have the unfortunate ones, the squatters and their children are victims of their circumstances,” he said at a fund-raising dinner organised by the Christ Baptist church, here last night.

Uggah, who is also minister in charge of the Unit for Other Religion (UNIFOR), said he was quite taken aback when he learnt of a voluntary food kitchen set up by an organisation that fed some 300 clients, many of whom were the Ibans,  daily.

“For the squatters, they squat near riverbanks and in places close to the graveyards. We are looking at the lists to come up with the appropriate action plan,” he said.

He said there were many facilities and programmes from both the government and the private sectors available to help them, such as aid  programmes in  agriculture, education, welfare and in business start-up.

“I would like for us all, including the churches, to pool our resources together  to help them,” he said.

On another issue, Uggah called on the people to be vigilant against those with extreme racial or religious views in their midst, trying to pit Sarawakians against each other .

“We have no such destructive issues in the state so far. So let us focus on strengthening our solidarity in helping our people and our state and country to be more progressive,” he added.

He also announced a grant of RM400,000 for the church and its kindergarten extension fund besides a grant of RM30,000 for its fund raising drive. — Bernama

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