Water pipes, taps without water don’t mean a thing to Kampung Selampit folk

A view of the Batang Kayan. It is a crocodile-infested river.

LUNDU, August 4: First-time visitors to Kampung Selampit, sandwiched between Lundu and Bau and about 100km from Kuching, will assume the village has treated water. Of course, there has to be water because there are pipelines, water meters and water taps for all to see.

But, alas, nothing is further from the truth. Not a single drop of water has ever come out from those taps, and because of that, no votes will go to the ruling coalition during election time.

During the monsoon season, the villagers depend on rainwater and water from gravity feed systems. During the dry season, their only water source for purposes other than drinking is the Batang Kayan, but there is a problem with collecting water from that river — crocodiles.

“Batang Kayan is a crocodile-infested river,” warned the village’s headman, Giton Jenai, when DayakDaily paid him a visit yesterday. So far, no untoward incident has happened to villagers bathing and taking water from the river.

“However, it is not right; as you can see, the water is murky,” said Giton. “In the dry season, we have to buy drinking water for consumption. We store boxes of it.”


Kampung Selampit village chief Giton Jenai

Due to their hardship, Giton said his people “cannot vote (for) this government because it did not fulfil its promise.”

Saying he had “no idea what was going on”, Giton said he did not know where the water pipes were connected to or the location of the treatment plant, if there ever was one.

Besides water issues, the villagers have long yearned for a bridge to connect them to Lundu or Bau. Currently, they use a ferry to cross Batang Kayan.

Meanwhile, some six kilometres away, SMK Senibong also faces water woes. Even though it is a brand new school, the school’s security guards claimed the water supply was unreliable. At times, the taps would be completely dry.

“The school was badly hit in February this year, but the situation has improved with the provision of more water storage tanks,” they said. — DayakDaily