By Jack Lapidus
OUTSIDERS who enter the Rumah Bajing longhouse in Batu Niah, Miri during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period will be fined RM2,000.
Village chief Tuai Rumah Bajing Lingga said this was the initiative taken by the Rumah Bajing Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) to protect villagers living at the 51-door longhouse during the Covid-19 outbreak, Borneo Post reported.
“We are not allowing the entry of outsiders, especially from other towns, including salesmen, into our longhouse except for any urgent matters or an emergency situation,” he said.
The 64-year-old had also instructed villagers to stay home if there was no urgency for them to go out.
“We are very serious about this because we don’t want this virus to spread and affect our people in the longhouse; we have over 300 people staying here,” he said.
According to him, there are over 60 longhouses in the area and he had also urged them to impose a fine on outsiders as part of efforts to curb the spread of the highly contagious disease.
Meanwhile, Bintulu Resident Jack Aman Luat said the action taken by Rumah Bajing complemented the MCO.
“Ibans do have what they call ‘adat geliga’ when they organise functions such as Gawai celebrations, weddings and funerals, whereby they imposed a fine or ‘tunggu’ for breach of the adat/custom.
“In this case, I don’t want to say it’s allowed or not but at the end of the day it is their decision to do so.
“The RM2,000 fine to me, is a deterrent measure to safeguard their community and adhere to the MCO,” he said.