Forum to get RM35 million allocation

Posted on : 05 Nov 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari hits the gong to mark the closing of the symposium. Also seen are (front, from left) Antonio, Dennis, Liwan, Gerawat, Lee, Chukpai and event organising chairman Dr Philip Raja.

MIRI: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has announced a RM35 million allocation to the Federation of Orang Ulu Associations of Sarawak, Malaysia (Forum) for the construction of an Orang Ulu Cultural Centre, and paid-up capital for Orang Ulu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OUCCI) here.

He made the announcement when officiating at the closing ceremony of the Seventh Orang Ulu Cultural Symposium at the civic centre here yesterday.

“A piece of land has been given…and it cannot be an empty land. If I can give RM1.5 billion to Highland Development Agency (HDA), and you only ask for RM25 million for building the centre, no problem,” he said to a thunderous applause from the crowd.

He also gave a time-frame of two years for Forum to start planning and completing the buildings, which would become the symbols of Orang Ulu’s unity, and also a stepping stone for them to move forward.

Abang Johari (fifth right) receives a memento from Orang Ulu community leaders, who is represented by Temenggong Elizabeth Deng, as (from right) Chukpai, Lee, Gerawat, Liwan, Antonio, Dennis and others look on.

“I have also endorsed for the Orang Ulus to have its own OUCCI (chamber), and for that I am giving RM10 million as paid-up capital,” Abang Johari said.

The setting up of OUCCI is among resolutions approved during the symposium, set to enable Orang Ulu entrepreneurs to have meaningful and active participation in business and trade.

The chief minister added that they (Orang Ulus) could use Forum as a platform to enhance their standard of living in the context of ecosystem.

He said he had specifically formed three agencies – Highland Development Agency (HDA), Ulu Rajang Development Agency (Urda) and Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA) – to create an ecosystem for the Orang Ulus.

“Once you have the ecosystem, we will improve the infrastructure. The rest will be up to the creativity of the people themselves – I cannot interfere,” he said.

On the symposium, Abang Johari said it is crucial for Sarawak government to ‘listen’ to the resolutions presented by all races to be incorporated in its next policy. He also stressed that the government practises inclusiveness; therefore its policies must also include all races.

Antonio (front, second left) hands over the resolutions to Abang Johari, witnessed by (from left) Dennis, Liwan, Gerawat, Lee, Chukpai and event organising chairman Dr Philip Raja look on.

Meanwhile in his welcoming speech, Forum president Antonio Kahti Galis said a total of 18 resolutions had been approved during the symposium, which was attended by about 500 participants.

Among the resolutions were infrastructure and utilities in order to leverage on digital technologies, and urging the Sarawak government to expedite the development of the main spine roads within Urda, HDA and NRDA.

“We also call for uninterrupted treated water and sustainable electricity supply to connect all Orang Ulu settlements in Belaga, Baram, Limbang and Lawas,” he said.

Assistant Minister of Water Supply who is also Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang; Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin; Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala; Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon; and Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau were among those present at the function yesterday.