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Officiating Balai Desa Semai

by Dr. Wan Srihani Wan Mohamad | Universiti Putra Malaysia


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November 13, 2022, Semai Village Hall or better known as Balai Desa Semai (BDS) among the locals in Sg Lah Org Asli Village, Chenderiang, Perak was officiated by YAB Chief Minister of Perak, Dato’ Seri Haji Saarani bin Mohamad on 13 November 2022. Heartiest congratulations to CART UPM members as well as all the sponsors, IPTA student volunteers that were involved in its construction. 


The BDS carries the similar concept of Teratak Semai, which is to promote sweat equity through self-build construction. The 40’X60’ size building is built using concrete structures and cement flooring with corrugated metal decking for roofing; together with craftsmanship of Bertam weaved panels by Semai tribe as the walls, ceilings and openings. In order to have a contemporary outlook, an introduction to colourful polycarbonate pieces were paired alternately with the Bertam weaved panels. The idea is to create not just ownership among the Semai tribe but also to take pride in their works. 


With this approach, it could be seen that the evolution of production for such artisan works has further progressed and is now in demand by the outside markets. This in time would create job opportunities among the youths of the locals to be competently trained in order to continue their heritage. 


Another advantage of using bertam weaved panels is that they are easily replaceable when deteriorated due to time and weather exposure. Access to such natural resources is abundance around the locality of Chenderiang. This would inspire others to be perceptive of such sustainable material being used for the hall.


The following are those who has contributed towards making BDS a possible project for the community of Semai.

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