KUCHING: The 1,500 villagers
affected by the Bengoh dam project have urged the state government to provide them with at least a
temporary school before moving into the resettlement scheme near Kampung Semadang, about 43km from here.
The Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS) Communication Task Force Committee chairman Itodio Peu said folk would not move from their old homes even if the BRS houses were ready.
He said a primary school must be ready so that children from the four affected villages namely Taba Sait, Pain Bojong, Rejoi and Semban, could continue their studies within the resettlement scheme.
“During our negotiation with the government before, we have never asked for a transit at Kampung Bengoh or Kampung Semadang.
“It is not our dream. Our dream is to have a school at the resettlement scheme,” he said, adding that even a temporary school, as long as it is within the BRS, would suffice.
According to Peu, the villagers had agreed to the proposal for the Naim Holdings Bhd’s site office near Bengoh to be converted into a temporary school before the new premises are built.
“As long as there is no school in the BRS, we are not going to move out of our homes and land.”
On another matter, Peu said some of the folk whose properties had not been compensated would also want the government to settle the compensation first before moving out.
“I can’t persuade them to move to BRS because I understand their problems. You cannot expect people to abandon or give away their properties for free.”
Otherwise, Peu said he was happy with the overall progress of the BRS. Having visited the site on Tuesday, he noted that the project was about 90% completed.
In January, Assistant Housing Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said Kampung Taba Sait would be the first village expected to move into the BRS in March. He said that there were 58 units of Rumah Mesra Rakyat (RMR) to be handed over to the villagers.
“The developer had assured the villagers that all houses would be completed in March. After this, they can start moving in,” he said after a briefing on the relocation of those affected by the Bengoh dam at Borneo Heights Road near here on Jan 30.
At the time, Abdul Karim said the second stage that would involve the people of Kampung Rejoi should be ready in April or May followed by those from Kampung Pain Bojong and Kampung Semban.
There would be 40 RMR units for Kampung Rejoi, 47 units for Kampung Pain Bojong and 59 units for Kampung Semban.
Apart from all that, there would be land lots provided by BRS to accommodate their extended families and also a piece of land for agriculture activities.
Other facilities in the BRS include two churches, a multipurpose hall and a primary school.