KUCHING: When then deputy prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein visited Kampung Pichin, Serian, in 1966, he launched a hill-clearing project for the construction of three Bidayuh longhouses and a water supply scheme.
Nearly 43 years later, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak saw the fruits of his late father’s labour when he toured the village, about 75km from here, yesterday.
From an album containing the historic photographs of his father’s visit to the village which was presented to him, Najib said he could see big changes in the kampung.
Besides the good infrastructure and basic amenities, Najib said at the meet-the-people session that he had noticed Astro satellite dishes on top of some houses.
Villager Reod Tulis, 67, said: “Life is so much easier. We now have electricity and piped water supply and telephone services.’’
Tulis could not hide his happiness as he joined hundreds of villagers, including 36 households of the three longhouses, to greet the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The village, which has nearly 500 households, has produced several prominent leaders like state Tourism and Urban Development Minister Datuk Michael Manyin, Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot and former assemblyman Datuk Dominic Dago Randa.
Dago had invited Abdul Razak to the village.
Najib brought with him a big gift in the form of an RM1.35mil cheque to fund the construction of a cultural centre for the villagers to celebrate their Gawai festivals and to hold other activities.
The Prime Minister also performed the earth-breaking ceremony for the project to be named after Tun Abdul Razak.
Later when asked to comment on PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s outburst against deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa for seeking unity talks with Umno, Najib said he was puzzled at Nik Aziz’s angry response.