By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Oct 15: Kampung Danu, a Bidayuh village situated some 60 km from here, is in a rather peculiar situation when it comes to water. The village has not had an issue with water supply for a very long time already, but they suddenly ‘had’ one about two years ago when the government stepped in to ‘help’.
Ketua Kaum Ahip Naii, 74, seemed amused when he narrated to the DayakDaily today how the government gave the villagers a “problem” by insisting they have treated tap water.
“Actually, to tell you the truth, we have no problem with water supply since we have been using gravity feed since the time of the late Datuk (Amar) Stephen Yong, when he was our MP. Since then, we have upgraded it three times.
“But two years ago, government officials came here and told us that we have to have treated water supply from Batu Kitang. We don’t need it, but since they insisted we should have it, we said okay we will take it in the name of development,” he said.
The authority concerned is still laying down the water mains from Semadang which is expected to reach the village sometime next year.
“For the record, even when Kuching dries up, our village still has water from our gravity feed. On top of that, we can always depend on Sg Sarawak Kiri for our water needs too,” he revealed, when asked to comment on a rumour that the village had experienced a water issue recently.
On another matter, the Public Works Department (PWD) retiree said he and the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) members had been drumming into the villagers five important things: cleanliness, health, religion, education, and economic well-being.
“For instance, it took us between three and four years to educate our people to stop throwing rubbish into the river. Now everyone is aware of the importance of hygiene. And if anyone is caught littering, he or she will be fined RM5,000,” he cautioned.
Ahip said his JKKK members had also put much emphasis on education and economic prosperity for the village folk.
“We want to see the future generations enjoying a better livelihood compared to us, who had to toil so hard in the past. We want them to study hard and get the best that life has to offer.
“At the same time, for those who stay in the village, we have joint ventures in oil palm plantation and ‘Musang King’ durian cultivation, where 2,900 hectares of our NCR (native customary rights) land have been alienated and planted with the crops,” he said proudly.
Ahip, who is fondly called ‘Sama Siton’ (Siton father) by the villagers, said Kampung Danu now had all basic amenities such as roads, electricity and telecommunication services.
Meanwhile, Ahip opined that since Sg Sarawak Kiri is still pristine and is home to plenty of fish as they have adopted the ‘Tagang System’, the village has attracted many visitors, especially for kayaking activities.
“To help the villagers to earn extra income, we charge each individual RM3. This way, it will help us to ensure that there will be someone looking into their needs,” he explained. — DayakDaily