Melilas says jobs urgently needed to revive the area

National 2 minutes, 6 seconds

BELAIT

RESIDENTS of Melilas’ only longhouse are hoping that job opportunities will be created in their area so more people will choose to stay.

They said because of their jobs, many residents, especially the younger ones, have to permanently move to far away urban areas or rent houses there and only return home on weekends or whenever they have time off.

Most residents currently work on their own farms or orchards and hunt for livestock for food, and in that setting, employment opportunities with companies or even the government sector are quite scarce.

In light of this, Muhd Shahrin Muhd Halim, a religious teacher at Melilas Primary School, said he hoped the government can reinstate positions that have been vacant for years, including in-house nurses and midwives.

With these positions reinstated, he said there are people living at the longhouse who would be interested in taking the jobs as they wouldn’t have to move away to secure employment.

He said having these positions would also benefit the residents as most of them have to travel to urban areas for medical services, which involves a long ride and is inconvenient in emergencies.

Sharing his sentiment was another resident, Usay Jayan, who works for a private company in Belait and can only return to his home in Melilas on his days off.

Aside from having midwives and nurses appointed by the government, he suggested that public facilities be improved, especially roads, as it is the main reason that travelling to and from the area is difficult.

The roads leading to Melilas are mostly covered in sand and gravel and are only accessible using off-road vehicles. In addition, the nearest medical facility is more than two hours away.

But Hj Muhd Yassin Abdul Rahim Sap, another resident, offered a different suggestion. He urged residents, especially retirees, to look into further developing their land, especially their farms.

He said Melilas has the potential to be further developed as an agricultural spot with farming and fishing among the regular activities of its residents.

By developing these lands, he said, more employment opportunities could be created, especially when it comes to finding people to manage their farms.

“Not only might this increase the chances of more people settling down in Melilas, it may also attract the government to start their own projects if the farms and land are developed enough,” he said.

“And in turn, this would create more job opportunities in the area and they may not have to seek employment outside Melilas anymore.”

The Brunei Times