1Malaysia Rumah Manai

Prime Minister visits Rumah Manai Nanga San LA

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.

The YAB Prime Minister, Datuk Patinggi Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak addresses the longhouse folks in Iban language as seen in TV3 on 18 Jun 2009 which was uploaded by my brother into You Tube.

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

A few rounds of rehearsal was needed to ensure that the welcoming would be flawless

Apai Rubis: "This is how we do it..... in the sun

Preparations and decorations made in the longhouse - everything has to be near perfect

The welcoming band (Puan Bija playing the instrument) practicing the Welcoming beat - Owen (No. 10) has a new job in the photo above

The children from the longhouse and also those from nearby SK Melaban gave their full commitment to the rehearsal even if it meant standing under the hot sun. All were excited on the news of the Prime Minister's visit.

My brother in law's bilik was turned into a first class restaurant ala Hilton Standard as the longouse will be hosting lunch for the Prime Minister. It was also a first view to international F & B standards for the longhouse folks. The living room was adorned with pua kumbu and tikai rattan.

The Information Department also made sure that the sound system for the event would be tweaking at its best

Mr. Gerald Rentap Jabu was at hand to witness the rehearsal and also gave some input into the preparations. He receieved continuous telephone messages from his dad, YB Datuk Patinggi Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang who continuously called from Kuala Lumpur (the Deputy Chief Minister is currently recovering from an operation). It was heartening to note that the Deputy Chief Minister also kept tabs of the progress of the preparations even though he shoud be resting.

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.

The crowd began to pour into the longhouse just minutes before the Prime Minister was about to arrive. The Rumah Manai Committee was at hand to ensure the well being of the guests - after all Gawai mood was still in the air.

The new elected Council Negeri member, YB Encik Malcolm Mussen Lamoh finalises his speech

I was busy mingling with the warriors (From left to right: Mr. Embit, Mr. Lanyau, Mr. Mujab and Mr. Mujah) who were dressed in traditional costumes

The children who were dressed at their best traditional outfit were also anxious to meet the Prime Minister

A Miring ceremony was led by the YB Datuk Douglas Uggah, the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment together with (from left) District officer for Lubok Antu Encik Nelson Mujah Girie, Tuai Rumah Winston Manai, YB Encik Malcolm Mussen and YB Dr. Johnichal Rayong

The only warning we recieved (maybe due to the congested line) was when the Police Outriders siren was heard at a distance. In a few minutes the Prime Minister's car was already at the longhouse compound

The Prime Minster and the Chief Minister was accorded a traditional welcome by the young dancers

The Prime Minister was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd who had waited patiently to him. It was a moment not to be missed by them as the only time they get to see him is only in the television. So when he shook hands with almost everyone I could see the smiles on their face. "Alam seumur idup tu aja maia ulih bertabi enggau Perdana Menteri"...translated it means this is once in a lifetime opportunity for them to shake hands with the Prime Minister.

Due to the struggle with the other photographersthis is the only picture I can take as the Prime Minister placed the piring prepared by the Minister earlier in front of the entrance

YB Datuk Douglas Uggah invited the YAB Prime Minister to sign the longhouse guest book

Similiarly the YAB Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud also made it a historic occassion for Rumah Manai when he was invited to sign also

The visit started of with a welcoming speech by YB Encik Malcolm Mussen Lamoh

The Pehin Sri Chief Minister spoke in perfect Iban when he delivered his brief speech

Finally, the Prime Minister addressed the VVIPs and the crowd - as seen in You Tube above. Footages of his visit can also be seen in TV 3 reporting (including the trip to Kampung Pichin Serian) below:

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.


Amiey Alen said…
Our PM looks handsome... but Che Det much more handsome...kekekekeke You untung... can easily meet them... Lucky you!! :D
headsteadi said…
waseh bos! masuk TV3 muka kitak!
Pn Hamidah said…
It must have been a valuable and a rewarding experience to ensure success of such a significant visit. Commendable joint efforts by all those involved and an overwhelming response by the rural folks had signified the spirit of One Malaysia truly manifested.Congrats to the team of organizers for the job well done.And on another note, you look great on TV haha..:)
Amiey, Headsteadi & Hammy - Saya jaga pintu aje...next to the VIPs lunch room...one has to agree the PM looks more stunning than anyone (in jeans wear) and he speaks Iban...at least he attempted it because TV3 did not include the rest of the clip :)
Hehehe...did JKR tar the road? Did Najib give another 1.5 millions too? Kekeke if he did...beruntung la org sana kan?
JJ said…
Wow...enda kelala bilik baka restaurant,Daddy Jackson Call me in spore ask me to open yr blog.Maioh bala keling n kumang gawai peda aku,must be very busy neh?Thank for yr blog,happy gawai n HAPPY APAI DAY
cyrildason said…
Mr Vincent!!! Well, this world must be so small because he was my group leader during my induction course!! He's a really nice guy.. I recognized him the moment I saw his photo!