City’s Ibans cry for attention

KUCHING:  Ibans living in the city are in need of better attention from the government.

Apparently, most of them have made city life their own after years of migration.

Problems, however, arise in many facets of their lives, and these include their need for more community leaders, cemetery land and affordable housing.

“We need three more penghulus to better serve our community,” said Temenggong Datuk Bernard Aggan Assan during a Gawai Ngiling Bidai function here Tuesday.

“Following the exodus of Ibans from rural to urban areas to seek better job opportunities, there are issues that need to be addressed and pertinent among these are their need for penghulu – three more penghulus,” Aggan said.

Aggan presents a souvenir to Abang Johari (left) at the Gawai Ngiling Bidai ceremony.

According to him, there are currently seven Iban penghulus serving under him in the Kuching Division.

He said the additional community leaders were needed to resolve outstanding issues faced by the community, thus enabling the people to be served more effectively and efficiently.

“We also request that the state government address our housing problem, especially for those with low income. Financial aid should be provided for the urban poor,” Aggan urged.

He noted that there were 267 squatter areas in Kuching City.

He also lamented the lack of affordable land for Iban cemeteries to bury their dead in the city areas.

“We would like to request two pieces of land to be allocated for urban cemeteries – a lot of people cannot find a place to bury the dead. Some of these cemeteries also charge high prices, so the poorer Ibans in Kuching are unable to lay their loved ones to rest,” he lamented.