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Most squatters in Kuching could be Ibans
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2008/1/18 2:36
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‘Most squatters in Kuching could be Ibans’
By Puvaneswary Devindran

http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=57941

KUCHING: Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Dato Sri William Mawan yesterday did not dispute the possibility that a majority of squatters in the city could be Ibans due to the rural-urban migration trend.

He said this was a possibility since many people migrating from the rural areas were Ibans, and they made up a larger group compared to the other ethnic groups.

“(They) could probably be the majority, but I can’t say off hand for sure, although this is something we are approaching,” he told reporters during a courtesy call from leaders of the newly-formed Iban Women Charitable Trust (IWCT) at his office here.

He said these folks would come to the city thinking it would be a ‘temporary’ move, but in the end it turned out to be permanent instead and this could see their extended families following suit.

As such, he said they might not be fully equipped to cope with life in the city and in the worst case scenario, end up committing crime or become victims of crime, unless there was somebody who could meet them and coordinate programmes to make them aware of their surroundings.

“We would appreciate it if we could know the depth and magnitude of the problem because urban migration could exert problems on (urban) planners and administrators because these group of people would need to use the facilities and amenities here,” he explained.

He said he could not provide the rate of rural-urban migration here, adding that it was not an easy task since this group was known to move around like ‘moving targets’.

In view of that, he said, it was important for organisations like IWCT to help his ministry in collecting specific data to know the number and who were moving to the city.

Mawan said such a phenomenon could not be easily solved, so the least the ministry could start off with was to gauge the magnitude of the problem, acknowledge it and then counter it with the help of various non-governmental organisations.

He commended IWCT for coming in to help the government by reaching out to various sections of the community, particularly rural Iban women who needed to benefit from socio-economic activities.

“It is very appropriate and timely to come up with the IWCT and my ministry is committed in providing the assistance they need for this,” he said, adding that it would be best for IWCT to cooperate with other bodies like Sarawak Dayak National Union, Sarawak Dayak Iban Association and Dayak Bidayuh National Association.

IWCT chairperson Senator Dato Sri Empiang Jabu said one of the agendas of IWCT was to focus on women who came to the city as a result of the urban migration and it would emphasise mainly on areas of education, economy and health.

She said IWCT hoped to bring awareness to these groups and hold outreach programmes and organise dialogues and workshops in the future as well as getting the women folk involved in economic activities made available by the government.

IWCT was gazetted on April 16 this year and it comprises nine members — Empiang, Nora Hardin (deputy chairperson), Mary Gaik (secretary), Angelina Celestine Ujang (treasurer) and the board of trustees members are Phyllis Empina TanggaI, Senorita Linang, Roselyn Dayun Abunawas, Cecilia Lintong Vincent Entering and Umang Nangku Jabu.

Posted on: 2009/9/10 4:34
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