SIBU: The Sibu Branch of Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) has urged the government to give more focus and attention to the urban poverty issue in Sibu under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
“Urban poverty has been in Sibu for a long time due to rural-urban migration. They comprise people from villages and longhouses who came to seek a better livelihood,” said its chairman Chambai Lindong.
He said the urban poor were mostly working in the blue-collar sector and staying in densely populated areas such as Bukit Assek, Tiong Hua Road and Tong Sang Road, with up to four families renting a single house or shophouse unit.
“They live in a crowded environment which caused a lot of problems during the pandemic, as a high number of Covid-19 positive cases were detected,” he told Bernama today when commenting on the 12MP tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday.
Chambai said many people have mistakenly thought that those urban poor only stay temporarily in Sibu but the fact is many of them have been in Sibu for up to 40 years.
“They are part and parcel of Sibu town; thus any development has to take them into account. This is very important,” he said.
He said they need to be given training to help them become skilled workers and be more marketable to get better paying jobs.
He also suggested that they be provided with affordable housing schemes that can help protect them from disease outbreaks.
When tabling the 12MP, the prime minister said a special unit at the federal and district office levels would be established under the five-year plan to tackle issues of poverty and income gaps among the people – Bernama