Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Major Tg Aru clean-up tomorrow

Published on: Friday, May 02, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: A major clean-up of tonnes of accumulated garbage trapped under the stilt houses in Kg Tanjung Aru Baru will get underway Saturday - the first real effort in the area that is now resided mainly by Suluk, Yakan (both southern Philippine origin), Buton (Indonesian) and other communities.

Many of the people from these communities moved into the area over the past two decades to rent premises left behind by Chinese.

The gotong-royong would involve approximately 2,000 villagers whose stilt houses occupy almost 500 acres of beachfront and sea along the one kilometre stretch.

Due to the rickety houses and the garbage the beauty of this prime sandy beachfront that stretches from Tg Aru Resort to Sutera Harbour at its furthest end (Tg Aru Lama) is not readily noticeable.

It was also the scene of numerous fires and repeated attacks by strong waves during High Tide.

The Gotong Royong's success may even herald the start of similar coordinated effort in other water villages statewide.

Tomorrow's exercise would involve City Hall, the Assemblyman's Office, Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, People Development Office, police, Fire and Rescue Department, Rela, Neighbourhood Watch, Shangri-la Tg Aru Resort and Spa, SM La Salle, SM Stella Maris and Surau Al-Amin.

However, recognising that it would be impossible to scoop up all the garbage within a day, the organising committee of the Gotong Royong Perdana in Kg Tanjung Aru Baru decided to swing into action two days earlier.

Village Security and Development Committee secretary Awang @ Ekah Jalani said, Thursday, the committee felt there was no time to lose in getting the job done as soon as possible also because of several cases of dengue in the area and to end the serious rats problem.

According to Ekah the idea was discussed in March and all the relevant agencies were informed. "We urge all the villagers, including those in Kg Tg Aru Lama, to participate in the event on Saturday in their respective villages. The last time we had such a gotong-royong was in 1998 but it was confined to only the houses along the road. This time, the underneath of every house in the area will be cleared of accumulated rubbish.

"We also wanted to instill a sense of belonging and raise awareness among the people on cleanliness. It is our collective responsibility to take care of our village," he said.

Thursday pre-gotong-royong managed to collect nearly 50 plastic bags of garbage after only three hours of work. The plastic bags were sponsored by City Hall who would also provide garbage trucks and equipment to carry the garbage out on Satuday.

Ekah said the gotong-royong would not be a one-off activity but an ongoing project.

"We cannot possibly expect that the place will be cleaned in one day.

All these garbage are not necessarily caused by us.

Mostly, they were washed ashore from the sea. So this is a big problem for the villagers here," he said.

Also present at the site were Suluk community leader Midzpan Haibil and organising committee member Dahlan Jasiri.

The launching of the gotong-royong will take place at the village community hall at 6.30am on Saturday by Tanjung Aru Assemblyman Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah.