All is smooth flowing again for orang asli families
TEMERLOH: The by-election fever in Kerdau has brought good tidings to the orang asli in Kampung Paya Sendayan, about 30km from here.
About 200 families there had been living without running water for over a year.
Until four days ago, they had to go deep into the nearby jungle to a small waterfall to do their washing and to collect water for cooking.
However, after visits there by Barisan Nasional leaders, including Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin a few days ago, the community can now enjoy the simple pleasure of taking their daily bath at home again.
“The water came back after all these leaders came,” said rubber tapper Ismail Yusuf.
Several of his children were seen happily washing his motorcycle and splashing water on each other.
Ismail said when the villagers previously took their water woes to the authorities, they were told that the pump at the nearby Batu Sawar treatment plant was not powerful enough to transport water to the village.
“We are grateful as it is difficult to live without running water, especially since my schooling children need to take their bath every morning,” said the 46-year-old father of five.
The five-kilometre village road is also being repaired and widened while a bus stop to shelter the orang asli children while they wait for their school bus is also being built.
But the main issue facing the villagers, who mostly work as rubber tappers in smallholdings belonging to others, is the lack of land for farming and other economic activities.
Villager Muhamad Lasim, 34, said many of them had applied for land in nearby areas but not all of them had been successful.
Fellow villager Muhamad Ismail added: “Some are lucky to get it, some are not. There is just not enough suitable land around here anymore.”
With running water re-connected to the village and various development currently taking place, the community is quite satisfied for now.
Muhamad Ismail said: “For the moment we happy. But if the Government forgets us after this by-election, we will not come out to vote again.”