I was fortunate to be able to visit Long Malim before it was inundated by the Murum Dam. Our trip took us 7 hours by 4 wheels from the junction of the road at Bakun Dam and the Pan Borneo Highway. It took two hours to travel from Miri to the Bakun Junction.
My friends an I went on a church trip to help the Penans to become aware of the importance of education, health and family life. We also witnessed to them in a Christian Service besides conducting some children's activities and health work. Our leaders and their leaders held counselling sessions with the youth.
We witnessed how they were unable to enjoy the most basic of health amenities. They actually depended on rainwater. The murky yellow river water provided water for washing. It was really sad to see kids bathing in the river water.
It was also my first time seeing the extended propellers of the outboard engines of the Penans This improvisation enabled them..to safely navigate the shallow waters of Sg. Malim. Having been brought up in a riverine village I am very used to outboard engines, propellers and river transport. But this improvisation really surprised me. How resilient these Penans are.
According to Sonia Lahung, these new extended machines are called setinting. They are specifically modified to suit travelling in shallow water. Some are modified from brush cutter engines and some are even made from water pumps!! They are recent improvisations to meet the needs of the ulu people whose rivers have become shallow due to deforestation and siltation of of upper reaches of rivers.
May God bless all the people from Sg. Malim. They have moved to below the Murum and in time to come, they and their future generations would not remember Long Malim any more.