KUCHING, Oct 8 — The Sarawak government wants to relocate all the 63 Dayak families who are squatting at a cemetery land at Chawan Road here, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today.
However, he said only 20 of the families have expressed their desire to move to a new site while the rest have decided to stay put.
“A cemetery is not a proper place to stay or to raise their children for the long haul,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from a group of headmen at his office here.
Uggah, who is also the state Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said the state government has identified a more suitable sites to relocate all the families.
He said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg, for a start, wanted them to move to Batu Gong area in Siburan at Km30 Kuching-Serian road.
“We are also studying another option, that is, the low-cost housing,” Uggah said.
On those who have decided to stay at the cemetery site, he said he has been told that some of them are working in nearby factories and their children are studying in nearby schools.
“The financial constraint is the other reason,” he said, hoping that their headman can convince them to be relocated elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Uggah urged the urban Dayak community to use empty land in their compound to go into modern farming system like the fertigation and hydroponics.
He said the systems do not require much space or manpower to manage.
“You can grow crops like chilly, native vegetables or ginger and these have good market demands while the women folk can perhaps pool their resources together to take up some cottage industry activities.
“All these can generate supplementary income,” he said.
He also said the government has plans to set up an agro park at Samarahan where interested farmers could rent plots for planting.