Build bridge before we die, appeal villagers

Posted By admin On April 13, 2010 @ 8:22 AM In Local | Comments Disabled LONG

ATIP, Apoh, Baram: One of the biggest Kayan settlements, Long Atip in Apoh, Baram is in dire need of a proper bridge across the river. And many longhouse folk have given up on seeing the construction of the promised bridge in their lifetime. About five to six hours’ drive by 4WD-vehicle from Miri, Long Atip is accessible by logging road from Long Lama. “My wish is to see the bridge before I die,” said Aban Jau Ing, an elderly Kayan in his 70’s, whose sentiment is shared by many of the senior citizens of the 115-door settlement, who are unhappy with the sorry state of the infrastructure there. A group of disillusioned senior citizens there had sought the help of Sarawak Kayan Association, Miri to highlight their plight, and their spokesman Laing Ngau said the present old suspension foot bridge linking the settlement to the road across the Apoh River could collapse anytime. It was built by the Agriculture Department two decades ago, and it is now akin to a death trap,

STILL WAITING: Aban Jau Ing (seated) and other senior citizens at the concrete block where a Bailey Bridge was supposed to be built a decade ago.

with broken coils of cables and decaying wooden structures. “We want the relevant authorities to look into the matter before any catastrophic accident happens as we were promised a metal bridge as early as 2002 and up to this day, there is only a slab of concrete to show,” they claimed. The bridge foundation was built at a cost of RM30,000 and the villagers were told that it would be given top priority. “Almost 10 years have passed and we at this kampung are still waiting,” Laing lamented. Meanwhile, Philip Ngo, the chairman of Sarawak Kayan Association, Miri said he had told the group he would bring their grouses to the relevant authorities. He said he had personally seen the run-down suspension foot bridge and was left shaking his head in disbelief at the dice with danger daily by the longhouse people to cross the river while painfully aware that it could collapse under their weight. Many of the wire cables are rusty and at many parts the supporting cables have snapped while the pegged down wooden posts are rotten. Since the Bailey bridge foundation was already constructed a decade ago, he said it did not make sense that after almost 10 years the bridge had not been constructed. The new metal bridge would link Miri, Long Lama to Long Panai, Long Terawan and the famous Mulu caves, opening up the area for tourism and agriculture development. He urged the authorities to look into the matter urgently and to heed the prime minister’s call to serve the Long Atip people’s needs without delay as the bridge was urgently needed.
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