16 villages in Sri Aman without treated water since the 60s

The murky water of the Batang Ai River is the source of water consumed by the affected villagers.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Jan 24: Sixteen villages in Sri Aman has been using, consuming and drinking untreated water since the 1960s, claims concerned villager Donny Steven.

According to Donny, the affected villages are Sengkabang Asal, Sengkabang Baru, Pak, Tawai, Langkang, Ijok, Pedalai, Lio, Tekalong, Basi Ili, Basi Asal, Ensurai, Sepalau, Galigau, Empalam and Tanjong.

“The villagers had been living in the area their entire life but never tasted treated water in their homes unless they bought it at the shop. These named villages have yet to get treated water supply which they should have over the years.

“Our government should have looked into the matter long ago. Rural villages really need to have treated water supply or they will continue to be more vulnerable to consuming water-bound diseases,” lamented Donny.

“It defeats the whole concept of having good healthy living which our health authority been promoting ever since I can remember,” he added.

Donny Steven

Donny who is in his sixties and hails from the village of Basi Asal, told DayakDaily recently that even if the State assemblymen and Members of Parliament for the area have spoken on the matter in the past, the situation remains unchanged.

He reiterated that rural folks had suffered long enough and they need clean water.

To use and consume water, the villagers’ only choice is to rely on the murky Batang Ai river, which is also infested with crocodiles. These reptiles are menacing, and villagers do not dare to wash or swim in the river.

This type of water pump is widely used by villagers at Basi Ulu and other affected villages to pump water to water storage tanks.

According to Donny, their only solution is to pump the water from the river to a water storage tank using by mechanical means.

“It is sad to see that every household at these villages has to spend their own money to buy water pumps, water storage tanks, pipes and mechanical equipment,” he said.

Donny also lamented that there is no access road connecting these villages to Simanggang town, with villagers presently relying on oil palm plantation roads.

Residents of Basi Ulu hope the proposed road to their village and surrounding villages will be completed and tarred as soon as possible.

“The villages need access roads as soon as possible in order to get access to government departments, banks, clinics, the hospital, grocers in the town and to sell their produce from their gardens and farms,” he explained.

“A very good tarred road will make life on par with people in town and that is what people want,” he added.

“For example, the road from Sri Aman to Sg Basi has been planned many years ago. But it has not been done till now. It is too slow. No point having a beautiful signboard for the direction to the locality of the village but yet it is not accessible by tarred road,” he lamented.

A signboard indicating the road to Sg Basi locality and Simanggang Town. However, according to Donny, the road from Sri Aman to Sg Basi is not done.

Donny said that the if the community leaders are concerned about villagers’ welfare and well-being, they should approach the government and seek to get this infrastructure completed.

“Do not request for the things that are of no benefit to all of the community they represented. Look at the reality and the needs of people.

“Sarawak is celebrating the sixty years of forming Malaysia, but it is sad to see that these rural villages near to towns have no treated water and tarred access roads.

“By 2030, we are supposed to be a developed status as a region or territory of Malaysia. Do something, solve these villagers’ water and road issues,” he said. — DayakDaily