Owners of outboard engines in Lubok Antu, received RM350 as rebate for 10 horse power engines, RM500 for 20hp and below and RM705 for 20hp and above, from Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu AK Numpang, here today.

Jabu said 869 outboard engine owners were given rebates totalling RM432,000 by the Federal Government, to ease the burden of Sarawakians who lived in the interiors and used boats for their daily transport.

“Today, the first batch of recipients who owned engines between 10hp to 40hp were handed out rebates,” he told reporters after handing out the rebates at Lubok Antu Mini Stadium here today.

He said the recipients were among those who had registered with the residents office last September while the total number of outboard engine owners in Sarawak stood at 31,731.

The Federal Government has allocated a total of RM22 million for eligible engine owners in the state, he said.

According to the Deputy Chief Minister, those who owned outboard engines but have yet to register, can do so until end April.

Sunok AK Ukar, 78, one of the recipients, said though the amount was small compared to what they spent daily, it would help ease their burden a little.

“Under normal circumstances, we spend about RM500 a month for petrol expenses because boats are our only means of transport from our long houses to the Batang Ai jetty,” he said.

Naoh AK Umpang, 53, said he was thankful to the Federal Government for being concerned with the burden of Sarawak people as this was the first time such a rebate was being paid out.

Meanwhile, Jabu urged the opposition to respect the tradition and culture of the Iban people when going out to campaign in Iban areas.

He added that the opposition should be aware that past election results had shown that Ibans had rejected the opposition, especially in the 2006 state elections when Datuk Dublin Unting Ingkot who passed away on Feb 24, had won the Batang Ai state assembly seat by a 806 vote majority, beating Nicholas Bawin Anggat from Parti Nasional Sarawak (SNAP).