1Malaysia Rumah Manai
Rumah Manai at Nanga San appears in the media again this time on a more significant note. It is another special place in Lubok Antu and has been featured in my blog in my Gawai 2006 posting and also Gawai 2007 posting. More special as it is considered part of Nadai Nama Nama as it is my brother in law's longhouse. Yesterday it apeared in National news as Malaysia's sixth Prime Miniser made a visit to the longhouse in a show of appreciation to the electorates of N.29 Batang Air constituency for voting Barisan Nasional in the last By Election. The cooridnation at ground level was intensively organised by teh Sri Aman Division Office and also the Lubok Antu District Office.
Preparations - A Day Earlier
Our visit to Rumah Manai was non stop since we got word that Rumah Manai would be the focus of the Prime Minister's visit since last week. Sri Aman has been a hive of activity ever since the N.29 Batang Air by Election in April 2009. Being in a rural setting, it took triple effort to rally all the agencies together and the surrounding longhouses within the Division at short notice. For first timers to Rumah Manai, Nanga San, it would certainly take some good navigational effort to reach the place. More so as the road was still gravel road since my last visit a few years ago. The good news brought by the Prime Minister is that this gravel road leading to the longhouse would be tar sealed soon.
Mr. Vincent Sawing @ Apai Rubis (left) with the Sri Aman Resident, Encik Abang Shamshudin Abang Seruji and the Social Officer Encik Zaidi Sarkawi coordinating the rehearsal under the hot sun
D-Day All Systems Go!
On the actual day (18th June 2009), the venue at Rumah Manai Nanga San was like a carnival as everything went into full swing. A crowd of almost 3,000 convereged into the area and there was little room for slip ups. This was because communications here is quite an effort due to the limited coverage by the mobile networks even though it is just 6 kilometers from Lubok Antu town.
Vehicles and crowd converging at Rumah Manai Nanga San
Various government personnels in their uniforms were also seen walking about the compound
The tagging and coordination by the protocol (both from the Chief Minister's Office and the Resident's Office) and welcoming committee was also underway. It was not known altogether which VIPs would show up for the official visit and we had to make sure the margin of error was minimized. Some VIPs not in the list may just turn up as the helicopters land - coordination with the HQ (Black Hawk take off point) in Kuching was critical made more complicated by the limited communication capacity.
TV3 reporting 8 p.m on the Prime Minister's visit to Sarawak (18 June 2009)
Right after lunch the longhouse folks were patient enough to wait for the Prime Minister as he continued his rounds of shaking hands with the people (Cikgu Dennis Jugah in the blue batik requested for this photo) on his way back
The Development and Security (JKKK) of Rumah Manai were happy also when the Prime Minster and the Chief Minister obliged to have a photo taking session with them
In the end, it has been a smooth flow in ensuring the success of the Prime Minster's visit. The JKKK recieved the thumbs up from the Lubok Antu Member of Parliament YB Tuan William Nyallau.
For most of us in the organising committee, it would not have been possible without everyone (federal and State Agencies in headquarters and also the local agencies) chipping in their resources in terms of manpower, creativity and commitment. It was with so many contraints that we managed to organise this event to the best of our ability. We stuck to our time as rehearsed, for we know that the Prime Minister has other places to visit. Though one would have expected something humungous but with a week to prepare and the logistics available in rural Sarawak, the organisational capacity was running at full gear. Overall the whole event was an eye opener and an excellent learning experience for everyone who participated. Once again, thank you all.