Ahad, 29 Ogos 2010

SARAWAK : Brighter Time For Pulau Bruit

PULAU Bruit, which encompasses about 530 sq km, is poised to become a major tourist destination in Sarawak. The island, together with nearby Muslim-Melanau Kampung Penipah and Kampung Tekajong along the Rajang River, is now set for prosperous times.The villages have a combined population of 8,000, most of whom are padi farmers and fishermen. Waterway: The many fishing boats on the river make it look congested. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced plans to develop the island into a major tourist destination during the Sibu by-election in May this year. Earlier, on April 28, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a RM28mil infrastructure project to upgrade it into an agropolitan centre. Of the allocation, RM10mil was to supply clean water to the island. Pulau Bruit, the second largest island in Malaysia after Pulau Langkawi, has been placed on the priority list for development by the state due to its location in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy. Simple but effective: The LKIM office in Pulau Bruit. It is about 64km from Sibu and the journey takes two-and-a-half hours by speed boat or express boat via Daro and Semop. It includes a half hour cruise on the South China Sea. The trip to Sibu and back is costly for locals who have to fork out RM20 to RM30 per person. It can also be traumatic if the sea is stormy. StarMetro recently visited Kampung Penipah and met Chinese-Melanau fisherman H.K. Yii. Yii said that construction of a road linking Kampung Penipah and Kampung Tekajong began in 1986.“Construction of the proposed 4km road, however, was ended abruptly and the villagers have had to wait for the past 24 years. We hope it will finally be completed this year,” he said. Rural setting: A motorcyclist negotiating his way on the narrow concrete paths of Kampung Pulau Bruit. “We desperately need a road linking the villages here to Sibu to enable us to transport our fish, vegetables and poultry. The road will make delivery cheaper and faster by one and half hours to Sibu.” Kampung Penipah does not have a clinic. A patient has to travel for 40 minutes by longboat to theTekajong Health Clinic and this can be done only during high tide.All the fishermen in the villages are also padi farmers.The fishing season is from March to May and this is followed by the prawn season from June to August. From September to December is the padi cultivation season. The villagers mend their fishing nets or take vacations from January to February.Some of them plant cash crops like yam and sago during these two months as well.Educated youths from the villages have become workers in the private and public sectors.Some have settled down in foreign places like the Middle East, England, Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. Perhaps it is a trend for them to leave their loved ones behind in search of a bright future abroad and sacrifice their serene livelihood here. at 12:06 AM Thursday August 5, 2010 Brighter times for Pulau Bruit BY WILLIAM CHIAN SARAWAKSTAR@THESTAR.COM.MY

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