KUCHING: The state government was urged to set up Ngemah Integrated Development Area (Nida) to plan and develop the Sg Ngemah and Sg Kabah areas.

Alexander Vincent (GPS-Ngemah) said the body would ensure better development of infrastructure and basic facilities, creating integrated housing estate and establishing socio-economic activities as sustainable income resources for the community.

“Circa 1970s under the Code Name: Operation Bebatak and Operation Empuru, about 7,600 people from 1,154 families in 74 longhouses in Sg Ngemah and Sg Kabah were mobilised to Rajang Security Command (Rascom) residential area in Sekuau, Tada, Ngungun and Jagau.

“Those people were placed in temporary longhouses and gotten involved with agricultural activities to gain income for the household.

“Even so, due to jeopardy at the time, infrastructure development and socio-economic in Rascom residential area did not undergo perfect planning.

“Thus, even after 50 years, the area especially the relocation area of Nanga Jagau, is very much lagging in terms of infrastructure development, basic facilities and sustainable income resources,” he elaborated.

He noted that the longhouses in Nanga Jagau were mostly built on the steep hillside slopes and exposed to the risk of landslide.

“Therefore, the establishment of Nida is very important because it can drive the local community towards development as a way for us to express our appreciation to the sacrifices of those who were relocated from their original homes under the two operations 46 years ago,” he said.