Monday, January 6, 2014

Villagers move for sake of children

by Nick Fletcher, Posted on January 6, 2014, Monday
A view of Bengoh Resettlement Scheme.
The temporary school at Bengoh Resettlement Scheme for students from SK Rejoi and SK Taba Sait.
KUCHING: Forced to move for the sake of their children’s education is the consensus among residents of villages affected by the Bengoh Dam to relocate to Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS) here recently.

However, this was not the main reason they were reluctant to relocate to BRS as there were many other factors that had caused dissatisfaction among the residents.

One of the factors is the outstanding issue on the land outside the perimeter, whereby so long as it is not settled it would raise further uncertainties on the relocation of all the villagers from Kampung Semban, Kampung Rejoi, Kampung Taba Sait and Kampung Pain Bojong.

At the moment, a majority of those who do not have schooling children are staying put at their respective villages despite being advised repeatedly to relocate to BRS.

According to Kampung Semban village head Bujus Kian, the rationale behind these villagers fighting for the claims on the land outside the perimeter was mainly because this was their right.

He said the land outside the perimeter was yet to be measured, let alone paid, yet they were instructed to move.

“Though there are villages where all the residents have agreed to relocate, right now, they refuse to budge simply because the issue on the land outside the perimeter is not solved.

“Most of those who had since relocated were mainly due to their children starting the new school term since schools such as SK Rejoi and SK Taba Sait have closed down,” he said when met yesterday.

Currently, children at BRS are attending classes at the temporary school which has been named SK Taba Sait, using the former office site of Naim Engineering Sdn Bhd.

So far, the number of villagers who have relocated to BRS has increased to 42 families from 
Kampung Semban, 34 families from Kampung Taba Sait, 22 families from Kampung Rejoi and 12 families from Kampung Pain Bojong.  Nevertheless, Bujus said that their livelihood at BRS was still uncertain as they were facing problems in farming and were also without rubbish bins.

“The lot boundary for us to tend to our farming has not been determined so it is difficult for us to farm.
“Besides that, we are not provided with rubbish bins despite numerous requests to Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) and Trienekens,” he said in voicing out problems faced by BRS residents.

Meanwhile, Bengoh Dam coordinator Temenggong Austin Dimin expressed confidence in receiving positive feedback from heads of households reluctant to move to BRS.

According to him, currently 53 families were yet to relocate to BRS.

“BRS is now completed and while the government is yet to officially set the date on when they should relocate, presently we have 126 families who have settled down here,” he said, adding that those reluctant to move might have fear of difficulty  adapting to their new home as they were used to living on vast lands.

Nonetheless, Austin hoped to see the 53 families yet to relocate make the right decision soon.

“This is because the new resettlement promises comfort and better facilities such as electricity supply, clean water supply, roads, hall, rubbish dump site, place of worship, primary school, street lighting and even landline phones which will be connected from Kota Padawan,” he said.

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