A committee of Iban community leaders has been formed to identify urban poor Ibans in Kuching, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah said today.
He said the committee, comprising one temenggong, one pemanca, seven penghulu and a number of tuai rumah, would identify those in need of help and to know their problems.
“There are many fortunate Ibans who have better lives, have their own houses and their children are doing very well… They can compete with the rest of the communities in the city.
"On the other hand, we have the unfortunate ones, the squatters and their children are victims of their circumstances," he said at a fundraising dinner organised by the Christ Baptist Church in Kuching last night.
Uggah, who is also Sarawak minister in charge of the Unit for Other Religions, said he was quite taken aback when he learnt of a voluntary food kitchen set up by an organisation that fed some 300 people daily, many of whom are Ibans.
"For the squatters, they squat near riverbanks and in places close to the graveyards. We are looking at the lists to come up with the appropriate action plan," he said.
Uggah said there were many facilities and programmes from both the government and the private sector available to help them, such as aid programmes in agriculture, education, welfare and business startups.
"I would like for us all, including the churches, to pool our resources together to help them," he said.
On another issue, Uggah called on the people to be vigilant against those with extreme racial or religious views in their midst, trying to pit Sarawakians against each other.
"We have no such destructive issues in the state so far. So let us focus on strengthening our solidarity in helping our people and our state and country to be more progressive," he added.
He also announced a grant of RM400,000 for the church and its kindergarten extension fund, besides a grant of RM30,000 for its fundraising drive.