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Happy 10th Birthday Mukah Division

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Reality bites... Mukah rapid development made once cheap local fish to luxury item beyond rural poor budget

Happy 10th Birthday Mukah Division.

Go and search "Mukah Division Map" on Google. Asiaexplorers.com will give you very good answer.

Mukah Division?

Mukah Division is a division of Sarawak. This coastal division is bordered by the South China Sea to the north, Bintulu Division to the east, Sibu Division and Sarikei Division to the south. Mukah is the main town and administrative capital. Other towns include Balingian,DalatOyaMatuDaro and Rajang. 
The full guide, you can get it here.

In early 2002, I was assigned to cover a Federal Minister visit to Dalat. I told my Chief Reporter that will be my first visit to Mukah. He asked me, "Are you Melanau?" I said, "Yes, but I am not from Mukah and has never been there."

Few months later, to be specific on March 1, 2002 - my News Editor, Francis Chan laughed heartily at me before saying, "Belawai has been coloniased by Mukah." Now its official. I am no longer georaphically from Sarikei but is from Mukah Division. Am I now a Mukah Division boy.

In 2009, I joined a group of online dissident launching cyber campaign against the extremely bad condition of Mukah Selangau road. The group was created by a Mukah boy and majority of my writers and reporters friends happened to be Mukahans.

To get the feel of the road myself, I travelled to Mukah. Bingo! I struck the jackpot. My MPV sportif spoiler was literally knocked off. I was very fortunate to reach Mukah alive. I should have travelled using a four wheel drive meant for offroad activities.

After that incident, we continued the onslaught on the road. Updating problems, accidents and incidents - while helping would be travellers on what to expect. I received many phone calls from powerful figure advising me to stop. I finally stop when the road were completed. The road is very smooth now.

In 2011, my daughter was offered a place in Mukah Junior Science College. Me and my wife leave it to her, whether she want to take it or stay in ordinary school. She jumped at the offer and burnt a huge hole in my wallet. It was a worthy investment because she fought hard there, climbing from the bottom of the class to finish top last semester.

Animism to Smart City

Mukah in good old days are famous for Animism activities. The coastal fishermen made offerings to Sea Spirits to protect them from harm and blessed with bountiful catch. The offerings must be free from blood or something bad would happen. The tradition is being kept alive and was sucessfully turned into tourism attraction called Pesta Kaul.

Today, Mukah is fairly modern town with highspeed Internet and Two Star business class hotel.In fact, another Two Star business class hotel will be built soon, reflecting investors confidence in the sleepy hollow steady growth.

Mukah town have good schools, polytechnic, government varsity, hospital and ultra modern government complex. 

Blessed with many friends in Mukah, my best tour guide of all time in the Mukah-Balingian time zone is none other than Pelita Estate Regional Manager, Faizal Jublee aka Daniel Boone.

Boone is my senior during my secondary school years. A graduate from UPM, Boone being a local from Balingian saw his official duty much more than only Ringgit and Sen to the company.

Sandy To Tar Seal Road

"In the past, whenever travelling from Balingian to catch the speedboat to Sibu - it will take not less than 3 accident before reaching Mukah town due to poor road condition. The road was a sandy and falling off the motorcycle is part of the package," he told me.

Despite the low profile approach, Boone played instrumental role in reviving Mukah Football Association as the protem secretary and is also the protem secretary of Balingian Youth Association.

"I am not ashame to admit that when we first started this Sago Plantation some 10 years ago we were unsuccessful. It was a learning process. Fair enough, my KSU came few days ago and pledged to increase the allocation from RM8 million to RM12 million after she saw what we did and achieved," the happy Boone told me.

The pint-sized chubby young man is supervising project covering thousands and thousand of hectare, and the happines that shine on his face is more than an evident. Very soon, Mukah industry will also be built around Sago and Oil Palm.

Good Education

Two of Boone's sons are now studying in MARA Junior College in Mukah, and and he insisted that the small town have almost everything that other town have to offer minus Pizza Hut.

"We have high speed Internet, KFC, Marry Brown, Sugar Bun and many supermarkets. We may not have grand shopping complex yet but good road linking Mukah to Sibu make the travel time less than two hours," he said.

Boone, however hoped the authority would upgrade the road between Sibu and Selangau.

In his spare time, Boone train and play rugby with UiTM Mukah students. Yes, Mukah got a varsity campus now. It also have Mukah Polytechnic, Mukah Youth Camp, Youth Skills Centre etc.

Private Varsity and more Technical College

In fact, Mukah member of Parliament, Datuk Seri Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad is working very hard now to finalise the opening of a private varsity campus in Mukah.

"We need the private varsity campus to compliment the government own institution by offering professional courses sought by the Industry," Toyad stressed.

Toyad is very happy to note that Mukah populace are steadily embracing the development that is taking shape in Mukah.

"We must give due importance to our children education, and make sure those who are not successful academically would acquire certified skills training.

"SCORE would offer many opportunities but to secure good paying job, our children must have the right education and at least technical or vocational skills certificate," he stressed, in one of the many meet the people session held in Kampung Tellian.

Cottage Industries

Toyad reminded the kampung folks that the government are doing at it level best to help the rural communities but none of the programme would be successful without co-operation and commitment from the Rakyat.

He also stressed that government are also extending help to create opportunities at Kampung level but the success of such venture are in the hands of the people themselves.

Mukah town is famous for its Instant Umai, Sago pellet, Tebaloi, Roti Sepit and many other cottage industries. Villages from throughout Mukah  division also produced the famous Belawai Sesar Unjur, dried Lumek, Kuala Rejang's Songket etc.

Better Inter District Road

Basically, in 10 years of its formation more road have criss-cross in the Mukah division linking coastal village like Belawai, Jerijeh and Kuala Rejang to Sibu and Sarikei by land.

Hardworking and enterprising villagers in Belawai are obviously making more money now due to weekend revellers from the nearby town that came to relax at its sandy beach.

Many people are now opening small stalls, cafeteria and coffee shops. Fishermen are landing their fish at the kampung jetty over the weekend and sell their catch straight to the visitors.

Agriculture produce are literally being snapped up at source by the Sibu-based taukeh.

Good road and better communication facilities also help the Udang Galah catcher in Balingian. They keep their stock alive and owner of Prawn Fishing Centre would buy direct from them at very good price.

Heavy Industry Controversy

Despite the allegation of river pollution due to Mukah rapid industrialisation by opposition mouthpiece in the Cyberspace, the people of Balingian rubbished the outsiders tales.

In fact, the natives of Balingian are very unhappy that many outsiders who opened up the government land are now staking claim that the land belonged to their forefathers. Being law abiding citizen, native Melanau will never open up government land in their territory without official approval.

"When they came, the told our fathers that we are only menumpang to farm and will never claim this land as ours. Now, many renegade on this promise and ought to be reminded of the history facts. I wish you can interview the elderly who are still alive and knew the whole story," Karnain Mohd Ali, PBB Balingian deputy youth chief stressed.

Karnain who served us with life Udang Galah as Umai Jeb, also spontaneously peel the skin of a life prawn before eating them in front of me.

"This river is our life, we will also make noise if the river is polluted. What pollution are they talking about when the villagers are enjoying good supply of Udang Galah now?" he questioned.

Udang Galah, he stressed is a very fragile animal that can easily be killed by change in water turbidity or oxygen level.

In the recent flooding episode, he said the murky water made it difficult for the Udang Galah to breath and those collected from the river, kept in tank with oxygen continued to live.

"NREB personnel came and check the water, if the factories or industry pollute it, I am sure they would take action," he said, stressing that government will not jeopardise the Rakyat with harmful industry.

In order to get fairer views on Mukah 10th Birthday as a Division, I shoot a simple question to my circle of friends on Facebook. I do not edit their comment out of respect. They replied and commented:

Bibiana Pek (former director of Human Resources and Quality, CM Office - Mukah)

1. Mukah has produced many anak tempatan yang bersekolah tinggi dan kebolehan. Gunakan mereka dalam strategi untuk membangunkan Mukah. Jangan ketepikan mereka kerana politik.

2. Kebersihan bandar di utamakan. keperluan asas seperti treated water, api letrik di adakan, bukan sahaja di Mukah tetapi di kawasan yang sewaktu dengan nya, ia Matu, Daro, Igan, Bruit etc.

3. Wakil rakyat, ketua kampong, councillors etc including penghulu etc di pilih dari orang tempatan dan bermastautin di tempat itu. Pengurusan melalui remote control tidak dapat di gunakan lagi kena mereka ini tidak melihat masalah rakyat. ie Kawasan tidak ada air n letrik. Wakil rakyat walaupun tahu tapi tidak ambil tindakan yang sewajarnya kena mereka tidak merasai masalah penduduk setiap hari sebab? mereka duduk di Sibu, Kuch dan Miri di mana bekalan air dan letrik sentiasa ada.

4. Anak tempatan yang bekerja di luar Mukah etc di galakan untuk balik ke kampong dan berdaftar
sebagai pengundi di kawasan tempatan. Suara rakyat perlu di dengar dan mereka yang berhijrah ke
bandar adalah mereka yang berpelajaran dan berpengalaman tinggi dan suara mereka diperlukan untuk
memberi sumbangan ide kepada mereka yang tinggal di kampong. ( ini ADUN n MP kita tidak suka heheheheh).

5. Keselamatan kampong di utamakan. Penceroboh dan pencuri di ladang dan kebun orang tempatan
hendakah di hentikan.
I tengah memasak n membuat umai Kim, so idea tidak ada hahahahah

Kelana Kipli (Regional Manager - Kuala Rejang)

'dont give the people fish, but instead give them fishing rods ' - an old saying, but true enough....Pulau Bruit, is far lacking behind from being developed, unlike its neighbours like Daro, Tg Manis, etc. The main problem that constitutes to such setbacks is unavailabity on roads linking all the major villages to the main coastal highway. The main activities of the people are fishing, apart from doing some minor farming activities, when they are unable to go fishing during bad wethers. On a fine day, those fishermen will come back with lots of catch, but unfortunately, its only for self consumption. Storage of fresh catch(in refrigerators) are almost impossible with the inconsistence power supplies that are being generated by several generator sets. To make matters worst, still a lot of areas are not reached with any power supply. The thought of exporting daily catch are almost impossible when there's not roads to the outside world, hence going commercial is 
simply a dream...

Another problem is having fresh drinking water. The villages hv to rely on the rain water contained during rainy season. Imagine that such water is so precious in the island that its kept only for drinking purposes when people in the city used clean treated water to wash their cars !! 

There's plenty to write, but its pointless as such critics for improvement are not being taken into serious consideration by the federal government despite pledges from the people via YB elected. The people do not asked for money, by instead they are asking for only 3 basic things for human civilization, i.e Roads, Power supply and treated water...

Gusti Bin Sahdan Gus (Guru - Betanak)

Pulau Bruit mempunyai 13 buah kampung nelayan. Pekerjaan utama penduduk kpg khasnya kampung yang
mengadap laut cina selatan ada menangkap ikan. Pada musim ikan (antara bulan 2 hingga bulan 10) terdapat banyak ikan pelbagai jenis. Masalah yang timbul kepada nelayan ialah terpaksa menjual hasil tangkapan kepada peraih dengan harga yang rendah lantaran tidak mempunyai kemudahan menyimpan peti (beku) dan pengangkutan untuk menghantar ikan terus ke bandar2 untuk mendapat harga yang tinggi.

Masalah jalan raya memang sudah semua sedia maklum memang penting untuk memberi  pecutan yang cepat terhadap peningkatan ekonomi penduduk nelayan ini. Pulau bruit juga merupakan kawasan yang satu2nya selain Belawai, yang mengeluarkan Sesa Ujur, iaitu udang kering yang lurus di dunia ini. (menggunakan kaedah biang api, bukan disalai).

Produk seumpama ini boleh dikomersial ke tahap yang lebi jauh, tidak keterlaluan saya katakan hingga ke luar negara. Hal ini menurut seorang anak kampung yang kerja pelaut di luar negara mengatakan orang putih (Prancis) sangat suka makan udang sesar unjur dengan wiski semasa dia bawa 2 kg sesa ini masa itu. Yang menjadi masalah ialah tiada agensi tertentu yang boleh memberi bantuan kepakaran, khidmat nasihat tentang kawalan kualiti dengan kaedah pengurusan pengeluaran yang standart kepada nelayan untuk menjamin kualiti lebih tinggi. Kemahiran perngkosan produk ini dan pembungkusan yang sesuai juga perlu diberi perhatian.

Selain itu tanah pulau bruit juga sangat subur untuk pelbagai tanaman. Mereka lebih kepada tanam cara diri. Kalau nak buka kebun yang lebih besar khasnya buah-buahan akan menghadapi masalah untuk memasar, seperti pisang, betik, tebu dan sebagainya. Tanaman seperti keladi mendapat permintaan yang tinggi untuk aiskrim. Yang menjadi persoalannya mengapa org kampung terpaksa menjual keladi mentah.

Mereka tidak diberi kemahiran memproses keladi tersebut ke tahap bahan asas untuk aiskrin. Sama juga dengan cili, mereka tidak diberi pendedahan dengan cara memproses cili kisar dan kita jual dalam bentuk tong kepada syarikat pengusaha sos.

Kesimpulannya, keperluan utama memanglah kemudahan jalan raya menghubungi bandar, air, elektrik
penting untuk merancakkan peningkatan ekonomi itu, kedua penglibatan pihak yang berkaitan dalam proses tranfomasi iaitu minda dan kemahiran dalam bidang pengurusan dan pemprosesan produk tertentu.

Saibi Gi (Wartawan - Dalat)

1) dahulu ketika saya masih kecil (kini berusia lebih 30 tahun) jalan raya dari dalat ke pekan mukah teruk keadaannya. perjalanan singkat jaraknya menjadikan lama tempoh perjalanan kerana jalan berpasir dan tidak berturap sepenuhnya. kini perjalanan dari pekan dalat ke mukah cuma mengambil masa setengah jam kerana berturap sepenuhnya.

2) dahulu tidak banyak rumah-rumah yang cantik dan indah di dalat terutama di kampung sungai ud,
tempat kelahiran saya. sekarang disebabkan ramai di antara kami bekerja kerajaan dan swasta, maka
keadaan rumah yang daif dahulu kini sudah jauh berubah apabila diperbaiki. hampir setiap rumah ada
astro, peti ais, dan komputer.

3) dahulu cuma kedengaran bunyi deruman enjin motosikal memecah keheningan malam di kampung saya,
tetapi kini lebih banyak kedengaran bunyi enjin kereta milik anak-anak kampung. itu menandakan
taraf hidup atau ekonomi masing-masing telah berganjak lebih baik berbanding dahulu.

4) dahulu ketika ke pekan mukah, cuma bertemu kebanyakannya orang melanau, tetapi kini tidak lagi.
orang bangla dan indon pun sudah memenuhi pasar mukah terutama pada hujung minggu. merek bekerja di kilang-kilang mini dan ladang sawit. maknanya.sektor ekonomi di mukah sudah kian beralih dari rumbia ke sawit.

ya jak yang terfikir i pok. terima kasih sebab merik peluang i molah karangan bertaraf kampung

Amrizan Madian (Wartawan - Balingian)


MUKAH... Masa berlalu bergitu pantas...sebagai anak jati Mukah, saya pastinya amat bangga dengan
kepesatan bandar umai itu sejak 10 tahun lalu.

Saya...bohonglah kalau saya kata tidak ada pembangunan di Mukah..khasnya dari segi frasarana dan
infrastruktur yang lebih baik.

Kepesatan bandar Mukah turut memberi tempias kepada daerah-daerah kecil berhampirannya dan boleh
dikata hampir 80 peratus tempat di Mukah hari ini dapat dihubungi dengan jalan raya walaupun hingga ke hari ini airport dan landasan terbang mukah masih lagi seperti yang pernah saya lihat 20 tahun yang lalu.

Pemilihan bandar Mukah yang terletak dalam SCORE sebagai bandar pintas pastinya akan merancakkan
lagi pembangunan di situ.
Kerja naik taraf jalan Mukah-Sibu serta pembinaan Jambatan Kuning merentangi Sungai Mukah juga telah banyak menghidupkan kembali bandar pesisir majoriti Melanau itu.

Kepesatan itu juga turut mendorong penhijrahan ramai orang luar ke Mukah sekeligus melonjakkan nilai hartanah di situ.

Sewa rumah boleh dikatakan hampir sama dengan kadar di bandar utama lain di Sarawak. Belum dikira
lagi harga rumah yang meningkat secara mendadak.

Projek-projek perumahan tumbuh seperti cendawan di Mukah sejak akhir-akhir ini dan apa yang lebih
mengejutkan harga ikan turut melonjak sama seperti harga rumah.

Mungkin itu rezeki bagi nelayan di Mukah... dan dari segi kemudahan sekolah..tidak kurang juga hebatnya.

Cuma setakat ini apa yang saya maklum....kenapa belum ada rancangan pembinaan sekolah menengah di
Balingian... mungkin ada pihak berkenaan yang boleh jawap.... ini adalah persoalan yang pernah
arwah bapa saya "seorang guru" ajukan lebih 20 tahun lalu...

Mungkin ramai yang tidak perasan isu ini... sama-sama kita renungkan.... CUCU MENTARIP!!!!!

Muhammad Iqbal Bin Abdullah (INFRA - Mukah)

Secara ikhlasnya sepanjang 10 tahun Mukah sebagai Bahagian, pembangunan sememangnya rancak berlaku. Walaubagaimanapun masih banyak isu-isu yang perlu ditangani. Antara isu kecil yang amat. 

menarik perhatian saya sebagai pemerhati pembangunan Bahagian Mukah adalah isu jalanraya dan bantuan rakyat miskin. Dalam isu yang melibatkan jalanraya saya lebih melihat kepada perlaksanaan dan pemantauan projek. Isunya adalah dari segi pemilihan kontraktor pelaksana yang gagal untuk
menyiapkan projek dalam tempoh yang ditetapkan. Apabila isu ini timbul, rakyat tidak menyalahkan kontraktor, tetapi kerajaan, khususnya wakil rakyat.

Isu yang kedua adalah dari segi pengagihan bantuan rakyat samada subsidi ataupun rumah pprt. 

Pengagihan perlulah berdasarkan kepada siapa yang memerlukan dan siapa yg perlu dapat dulu. Tp kelemahan yg ketara adalah dari segi pemilihan dan penentuan priority serta orang yang dipertanggungjawabkan utk mengenalpasti golongan sasar.

Isu yang ketiga adalah dari medium penyampaian dan agen pembangunan di peringkat kampung-kampung. 

Ketiadaan agen pembanguna di kawasan akan menggalakkan lambakan permohonan pembangunan semasa pilihanraya. Walaubagaimanapun seandainya wujudnya agen yang melaporkan dari semasa kesemasa
keperluan pembangunan. Masalah sebegini tidak akan berlaku.
Selain daripada itu isu lain yang perlu dititik beratkan adalah dari segi liputan 3g komunikasi, kemudahan awam yang berkualiti, serta pengagkutan awan udara dan darat.
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