Orang Asli do not reject modernisation, asking for clean water

14 Jun 2019 / 18:03 H.

GUA MUSANG: The Orang Asli Batek community in Kampung Kuala Koh here may still practise a primitive way of life, but they do not reject modernisation and are in fact hoping for basic amenities like a treated water supply.

The villagers claim that the water tank and pump for treated water which were built two years ago were damaged and not maintained.

They now have to depend on water from rivers, hill catchment areas and streams from nearby oil palm plantations.

According to resident Aziz Aril Majid, in his 40s, the poor water quality had caused the local people to suffer stomach pains.

“The river and hill water is still safe, but water from the plantations may contain pesticides and fertilisers.

“We hope the people in power (Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) come here today, we need clean water,” he told reporters at the Felda Aring 10 hall today.

It is understood that the facility was built under the Rural Transformation Programme in 2015 and completed in 2017, but malfunctioned after only a few months.

Earlier today, Dr Wan Azizah visited the area and attended a closed-door briefing at the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) operation centre at the same hall.

Dr Wan Azizah who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister also presented mineral water, food and health kits to the residents.

Another resident, Anit Seman, 37, said the existing infrastructure was incomplete, as there was no electricity supply.

He said the residents would rather live in bamboo houses or basic tents than in darkness and suffer the heat due to the lack of electricity supply.

“We are Orang Asli, we live in the jungles, but if people give us rooms (houses), we will move in, but it is difficult without electricity,” Anit said. - Bernama

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