YB Malcolm Flies

YB Encik Malcolm Mussen Launches System Tagang in Ulu Engkari

It was back in April 2009 last year that YB Encik Mussen was featured in Nadai Nama Nama. He became the representative for Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri for N.29 Batang Ai when he won the hotly contested By-Election. Since then most of my readers always ask me where he has been and what he has been up to. I accompanied YB Encik Mussen for one of his official functions to launch the first Sarawak Forest Department's Tagang System in collaboration with ITTO and Sarawak Agriculture Department in Rumah Jaong, Lubok Pantu, Ulu Engkari, Sri Aman. System Tagang is explained in this link by the Agriculture Department. Its a mouthful if I attempt to explain it here. Let me just say that it is a proven conservation project (after a trip to Sabah to learn the Tagal System as it is called there) which will allow for the sustainable supply of fish for the folks in this area. Whew....I told you it would be a mouthful. But launch it he did and it was not without much hardship as the helicopter we used to try to reach the area hit bad weather when we took off from Kuching. We had to make a landing at Sri Aman (I was happy of course to show the YB around Sri Aman and where our best roti canai and nasi lemak was). But the weather did not improve and all of us in the helicopter were jittery. Our YB was quite determined to go to meet his constituents and we agreed to wait. As if the weather was answering YB's prayers, the skies cleared almost two hours later and we proceed with our journey. YB received an overwhelming and rousing welcome and I guess it was worth it when he decided to continue the journey.  

Shaky ride due to bad weather ~ helicopter hovering above Pulau Seduku, Sri Aman heading towards Lubok Antu - I fixed my ears to the 'chu chu chu chu...' sound of the engine and everytime a different funny sound comes in between my heart would miss a beat.

Approaching the landing point ~ YB Encik Mussen looks over SK Ulu Engkari - one cannot help but wonder what is in his mind as he ponders on how to bring about development to this remote part of Sarawak

YB Encik Mussen is greeted warmly by the organisers and the longhouse folks

The journey continues ~ from the air we hopped on a longboat and manouvered through the dangerous rapids with the aid of skilled boatmen from the nearby longhouses. The two guys up front have to work hard help pilot us through the rapids.

Walking along the longhouse ruai ~ Welcoming ceremony for YB Encik Mussen and his entourage from Kuching

YB Encik Mussen in the foreground, with Encik Ali Yusop next to him and Encik Sapuan, both from Forestry Department Sarawak

The longhouse folks do not always get VIP visitors often which must be why they turn up in droves at Rumah Jaong Ulu Pantu to spend time with YB Encik Mussen.

Nadai Nama Nama was tempted to move around to take photos during the official function but being part of the entourage means sitting still and just behave

10,000 fish fries of the expensive tengadak species were released into the river by YB Encik Mussen (with our assistance) during the launching ceremony

YB Encik Mussen gives an interview at the Ulu Engkari river bank where he stressed on the benefits of the Tagang System. He also wish to highlight the clear water on which they were standing now is not easy to enjoy nowadays.

YB also explained on the Eco tourism potential of the area especially for tourists who are looking to be one with nature and experience an area which is in harmony with nature. Ulu Engkari is situated near the Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary.

As you will be able to see, our pilot Captain Yusof also enjoyed this harrowing ride on the longboat through the Ulu Engkari rapids. He helped us get through the turbulent skies and here he needs the skills of the Ulu Engkari River Pilots to steer along the river

Interesting note ~ SK Ulu Engkari students I managed to interview. Though I mixed up their names I was quite surprised to discover that these primary school girls were pretty independent, washing and drying their own clothes. The one in the middle is only Primary 1. Its an amazing feat that my Shania always get me to wash her school clothes and shoes. 

Aerial picture of SK Ulu Engkari

As we lift off, the children were chasing our helicopter on the ground and our boat drivers were waving goodbye. I will always remember this 'out of place' area, situated in the middle of a valley which is almost an hour's journey by air. By boat it will take almost 4 hours from Batang Ai Dam, Lubok Antu ~ that again also depends on the river's water level. This valley is very unlike Klang Valley where you can get almost everything you want like Blackberry Service, 24 hours of light, intergrated transportation system which gets you from Point A to Point B accurately ecetra ecetra. A thousand and one things come to mind, really. I hope YB Dato Sri Idris's lab takes this into consideration when they hole themselves up to come up with good solutions. Trying to compare the gap and always trying to convince the top administrators who are sitting on cushy chairs in Putra Jaya is very much a challenge. Those who have never been to this area and those who reply "Ya Ker?" during meetings. Sometimes they come over here with their set of rules that only apply in Putra Jaya and they remain steadfast about it without going to the ground. "Kenapa mahal sangat nak bina Rumah Orang Miskin di kawasan ini?". One sometimes wonder how these guys prepare a design spec for building a 'Program Bantuan Rumah' for the hardcore poor in the interiors of Sarawak, using the market price determined by Putra Jaya chaps. I believe when they draw up financial estimates plus the 'cost and transportation' of materials', they will not consider how these materials are brought to the area concerned using longboats, frequency of trips, how much to pay the boatmen who risk their lives carrying the building materials (3 boatmen in the case above) and the technicians who come regularly to inspect the construction....I don't have to say more. Just replying to "Kenapa mahal sangat, kenapa Sarawak mesti istimewa sangat?" Its not that we want to be special. The situation here is different, that is the special thing about it, not that we want some special previleges, we just special considerations. Cheers.


headsteadi said…
Those Putrajaya chaps that handles Sarawak should first be assigned to Sarawak for a few years so that they understand the situation at hand. Then, next time they wouldn't say "Kenapa mahal sangat". Instead they would ask, "Cukup ke tidak?"
Uchu Keling said…
Good report and who was the photographer?
Unknown said…
Tabi Jang Desmond,
OoooHaa! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your postings all these while. There are, may I say, the only reliable source of home news and the photos you took depicting the activities therein make one miss home so much. Especially so,when the missives touched on Simanggang...laban asal aku ga ari nyin (Skra Ili). Many thanks for all your time & effort (+ duit ringgit)- a commendable endeavour. Bakani nuan olih magi jam ngiga awak kena blogging; bearing in mind kitai orang gomen?! Manah amat time management nuan. I recognise some of the people in the photos, too. Your comments & observations are fair.Your electronic assessories do look serious..must have cost you more than arm & a leg! Nikon camera/ Blackberry, etc. Talking of Blackberrys, tenggah ari kemari bisi kaban ari Sibu (indu Cina Foochow)who speaks Iban fluently enda nyamai ati lebuh aku emailed iya minta Recipe curry. I literally wrote it the way she speaks Iban Sibu. I said, "Irene, olih dik ngihom mehi aku hesepi masakan kahi mihah ahi Blackbihi dik?" Tusah orang indu Jang, jampat ringgat kemaia ari tu. Cerita amat tu. Love the food photos, too ...esp. the Mee rangkai. However, I particularly miss having 2 things from home - buah Engkala & tunu keli! I hope to meet up with you for a chat in Simanggang one day. Keep enlightening us. Aku ari Btg. Ai Ngelan