By Siti Zanariah Norzin and Wan Muhammad Aslah Wan Razali
KLUANG, Jan 7 -- Three boats donated by the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) in 2018 have become very valuable and are now lifelines for the Orang Asli community especially during the flood season.
An Orang Asli from Kuala Sengka near here, Hadin Awang said he was very thankful to the government for the contributions which were a boon to the villagers.
“The government-sponsored outboard motor boats are our second lives especially during the monsoon season.
“We did not have to pay a single cent to own the boats which eventually become the common use for us in the village," he told Bernama after receiving a donation of dry food item supplies from the Social Welfare Department (JKM), JAKOA assisted by the Public Works Department (JKR).
Hadin said the flood that hit since last Saturday inundated the road connecting the village with the main road under nine feet of water and severing connection with nearby shops.
Speaking further, he added those shops also ran out of food supplies and other basic necessities as the main road was also flooded with muddy water and blocked by landslides.
“We use the boats to cross the flooded oil palm estates to get some food supplies from a neighbouring village, namely, Kampung Orang Asli Air Pasir, which is located about two kilometres from here.
“We have also place nets in the deep flood water areas to catch fish and then share the catch with the residents of the neighbouring village,” he said.
Bernama (Malaysia National News Agency), which was involved in the donation drive, took more than one hour from Jalan Kahang heading to Mersing and then drove on a laterite road for a further 10 km via two-wheel drove vehicle to reach the two villages.
Meanwhile, Kluang district JAKOA community development assistant Mohd Fadhil Khosnan said the department always took seriously the information given by the Orang Asli residents here regarding the condition of the river and their villages.
“When there is a flood, we will immediately report to the relevant authorities to take action and also evacuate Orang Asli villagers who need immediate evacuation,” he said.
Orang Asli Air Pasir village head, Jala Mahida, also thanked the government and the agencies that contributed to the residents of his village today.
“This is how it is, during every flood season, the route to this village will be flooded, so I appeal to JAKOA to propose to the government to approve a road construction project to our village,’’ he said.
Today, about 200 food packs were distributed to the residents of the two villages.
Malaysian National News Agency
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