Sarawak is proposing that new concept longhouses be incorporated under the national housing policy in an effort to upgrade their standard.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said that the modern longhouse would retain its cultural architecture but would be constructed with modern technology including materials used as well as security features and amenities.
Speaking at the earth-breaking ceremony for a 57-door modern concept longhouse at Rumah Chabu in Bakong, he said that it was also historic because for the first time in an Iban community they have kepala tanah(land title ownership) given to each room owner.
“It has never been done before. So the people in Rumah Chabu can now be assured that their children and future generation have a legal right to their bilik,” said Johari.
Rumah Chabu, which is a pilot project, will incorporate all the new features of the concept.
He added that once they have improved on the longhouse concept, his ministry with the endorsement of the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah, would put forward the proposal to the Federal Government.
The Government under the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is expected to complete construction of the RM2.3mil Rumah Chabu within six months to a year.
The original 57-door longhouse was destroyed in a fire in 2009.
Johari visited them at that time and promised to find ways to build them a new longhouse and he came yesterday to deliver his promise.
Meanwhile, Johari said the Federal Government had approved a budget of RM200mil under the 10th Malaysia Plan for housing development projects in the state.
Since 1976, the government had allocated a total of RM72.6mil, of which RM27.5mil was from Federal Government funding to build 500 longhouses, benefitting 11,432 families.
Johari also reminded the crowd at Rumah Chabu that only Barisan Nasional (BN) can deliver its promises.
“I promise to build new longhouses for you and I came here to deliver my promise, he said, adding that the incumbent for Marudi Sylvester Entrie had invited him.
“He has been a good leader to you. Make sure you retain him and he is here to represent you,” he said.
At the function, Sylvester Entrie announced a budget of RM1.3mil for drainage and irrigation projects for eight longhouses in flood-prone Bakong and Beluru.