Johor Orang Asli Turn To Sticks And Stones As Water Supply Woes Persist


 


The Orang Asli community of Kampung Orang Asli Selai in Bekok, Segamat, Johor have resorted to using sticks and stones to mend their pipes and a water catchment dam.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, Johor Orang Asli Action Committee chairperson Achai @ Juti Kais said this comes after the villagers were plagued by water woes and a year-long deprivation of piped water.
Achai said the pipes and the dam, situated on Sungai Hantu, burst after a flood hit the village in March last year. He added that the situation worsened after another deluge in December.
“We have no choice but to use sticks and stones to repair the pipes.
“We can only drink, cook, and shower in the murky river water. What else can we do?” he told Malaysiakini.
Donation drive
The 61-year-old tok batin (village chief) expressed disappointment that despite reaching out to Labis MP Pang Hok Liong, Bekok assemblyperson Tan Chong, and the district’s Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa), no actions were taken to address their plight.
Sticks and stones are used to mend pipes and the water catchment dam on Sungai Hantu.“I wrote to them to ask for an allocation of RM25,415 for us to purchase new pipes and cement but Tan and Jakoa said the cost was too high for them to bear.
“Meanwhile, Pang asked us to write to him in the capacity of the village community management council. But we don’t have such councils... so, there was no action taken until now.
“I’m very disappointed with Pang and Tan. During the general and state elections, they would come to the village to see us twice a day. But now they have won, it seems like they have forgotten us,” Achai said.
Taking the matter into their own hands, the village chief started a donation drive to repair the damaged pipes and dam.
“The villagers were forced to contribute RM10 per person and with the little money that was collected, we were able to buy cement to temporarily fix the dam on April 6.
“At least, for the moment, the water supply can reach our houses.”
Malaysiakini has reached out to Pang and Tan for comment. - Mkini


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