Tuaran Village to get back its popularity
Kampung Mengkabong, a fishing village here, was a popular tourist attraction during the State’s tourism boom in the 1990’s. Tourists who stopped by at the village would walk along the rickety wooden bridges connecting the houses built on stilts above the water. Kampung Mengkabong’s popularity however slowly declined but Tuaran Member of Parliament Datuk Sen Panglima Wilfred Bumburing wants to revive the fishing village’s attraction. “When we look at a village, we always think about the problems affecting it and the villagers. We dont look at the potential,” he said. According to Bumburing, he has identified two potentially viable things that can be done in Kampung Piengkabong to improve the villagers’ socio-economy. “The first ii to start a cottage industry producing ‘keropok ikan’ (fish crackers) and the other is something similar to a homestay programme where tourists are invited into the houses for a traditional meal,” he said. Bumburing who was met at a meet—the- people session in Kampung Mengkabong yesterday, pointed out that these people who are fisherman usually sell their catch at the Tuaran market. The leftover catch is usually sold to fish cake or fish ball factories, he said, adding that the villagers could instead use the leftover fish to make ‘keropok ikan’. “I am trying to get them interested in this venture as it is economically viable and those who want to venture into this can get assistance from the Government. They can also come to me and I will assist them the best I can,” he added. On his second proposal, Bumburing said the villagers could work together with the relevant quarters to promote local delicacies in very ‘natural’ surroundings. “Traditional fares served in restaurants, hotels and other eateries are fine bat the ambiance is not there so I suggest that the villagers provide local food and drinks to visitors,” he said, adding that the villagers could also venture into the homestay programme which is becoming very popular. Visitors can also be taken for cruises around the village and along the river, he said. According to him further, the Tourism Ministry is interested to assist villagers who are interested to start a homestay programme. “In fact the Rural Development Ministry is also ready to help as projects like these go a long way towards uplifting the economy of the people,” he said. Earlier in his speech, the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization (UPKO) Deputy President assured the villagers that he will be working closely with Sulaman Assemblyman Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor on the village’s upgrading plans. ‘I know that the RM6O million upgrading proposal has been forwarded to the Rural and Regional Development Ministry so I will do my best to follow up on it,” he said. He also dispelled talks that the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government is unstable and said, “the Government is stable and will remain stable until the next election”. During the event, Bumburing also presented fishing nets to the fishermen from the village.