Betong longhouse chiefs ‘unhappy’ with S’wak Gov’t

Sarawak-Electricity-Supply-Corporation-(Sesco)KUCHING: Several longhouse chiefs in Betong, Sarawak, have taken to the media to express their disappointment with the state government and have no fears over losing their RM800 per month allowance for speaking up. “It’s not wrong for us to speak up and voice the concerns of the people,” said Tuai Rumah (Longhouse Chief) Timang Anak Geramong from Rantau Lelayang.

Timang, like several other longhouse chiefs, admitted that they had switched sides and would henceforth be supporting the Opposition to bring changes to their longhouses. “We will back Vernon Aji Kedit of PKR Sarawak in Betong.”

Tuai Rumah Ambu Anak Kadukom of Lempaong in Spak, Betong, spoke up for his peers when he said: “They (state government) lied (on development) to our parents when they were alive and they still have no shame and continue lying to us.”

“Please stop lying to us.”

Tuai Rumah Merundie Anak Lindang from Batu Pesok cited a long-promised road access as among the disappointments of the people. “We asked them for an access road but instead they gave us generators. We can buy the generators ourselves. It’s the access road that we need.”

“Now that we have built the access road ourselves, we don’t need the state government anymore. We were left 42 years without an access road.”

Ambu chipped in that without an access road, the longhouse people had to park their vehicles some distance away and then continue by motorbikes to their homes. “Those who don’t own vehicles or motorbikes have to walk five kilometres and cross two rivers just to get home.”

“Now, they tell us that they will build us a road but it will cost RM4 million.”

Timang brought up other issues as well including one that involves the Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (Sesco). He wants to know why the longhouse dwellers have to pay compensation to Sesco to erect electricity poles to their longhouses through neighbouring land. “It’s Sesco which should pay landowners for erecting the poles,” he stressed. “Instead, we have to pay the neighbouring longhouse for Sesco to erect poles on their land for the electricity supply to reach our land.”

“This is not free electricity. We are paying for it. So, why do we have to pay for the poles as well? That’s the work of Sesco.”