Volunteers brought clean water to a rural community in Sarawak with an inexpensive gravity-fed water system.
KUCHING: Having won 12 state and five parliamentary seats in Sarawak, opposition DAP is surging ahead with its dream to initiate changes within the rural Dayak community.
Tonight as the national DAP holds its ‘Impian Sarawak’ dinner in Petaliang Jaya to raise funds for its ‘Go Rural’ initiative, its elected representatives will convince Malaysians of the various interior communities desperate need for basic necessities- water, electricity, roads.
In his Facebook posting PJ Utara MP Tony Pua said through its ‘Impian Sarawak’ project DAP hoped to provide rural communities with these basic needs.
“Usually project such as this will be done and maintained in ‘gotong-royong’ style by the villagers so the money we collected from this campaign will not go to any contractor but to the village fund directly.
“We also welcome volunteers who want to do the project together with the villagers to foster greater understanding between the rural and urban Malaysians.” Pua posted.
He said ‘Impian Sarawak’ would also delve into economic upliftment projects such as cottage enterprises to help Sarawakian natives earn stable incomes.
“At the same time, we’ll strive to educate the rural communities on their democratic rights as rightful Malaysian citizens”.
“In short, we want to return to the rural communities the dignity to choose the government they want – a dignity that every citizen in a democratic country deserves, “ he said even as Sarawak party chairman Chong Chieng Jen announced the beginning of the initiative in Bengoh constituency.
Sealing their commitment to the long hall, Chong launched a gravity water system in Kampung Sait – Muk Ayun which is situated in the Mambong parliamentary constituency.
Pua was among several peninsular MPs who were present.
Gravity-fed water pumps
The village is one of the four villages located within the Bengoh Dam project area and is not accessible by car. It is some thirty minutes’ drive from Kota Padawan in suburban Kuching and an additional two hours walk into the village.
This gravity-fed water system was built by ‘Impian Sarawak’ volunteers and the villagers of Kpg .Sait – MukAyun, under a ‘community spirit (gotong-royong)’ style construction and was financed by both the national and state DAP through nationwide public donation drive.
It took nine days for the project to be completed. And now Kampung Sait – MukAyun villagers now have clean water supplied to their homes during the dry season. No longer do they have to walk through the jungle to get water from the nearest water source.
Urging West and East Malaysians to support the ‘Impian Sarawak’ agenda, Chong said the project was a showcase of how a small group of people working together could bring change.
“In this, our first ‘Impian Sarawak’ project, we linked water from the mountain to their homes, with each household having a water tap.
“We started off the project by calling for volunteers and the reaction was overwhelming. We had more than 100 people, mostly from the peninsula, responding.
“These people bought their own tickets, and paid RM200 for a two-week stay and meals while working for the project in Kampung Sait while they worked on the project,” he told a 1,500-strong dinner crowd in Sibu recently.
Kampung Sait, he added was only the beginning.
The state party had already identified villages in several other constituencies namely Tasik Biru, Kedup, Tarat, Balai Ringin, Simanggang, Engkilili, Bukit Saban, Pakan, Meluan, Ngemah, Katibas, Pelagus, Belaga, Kakus, Kemena, Marudi, Bekenu, Bukit Kota and Batu Danau.
In 2011, following its unprecedented victory in the state polls and views of a marked upward swing for support for the opposition, DAP announced that it would now target the mixed and rural interior of Sarawak.
To that end it formed the Dayak Consultative Council and began its grassroot initiatives to gather ‘talents’ and funds.
In August this year, Chong said DAP Sarawak aimed to set up branches in 21 rural constituencies within the following two months to strengthen its rural reach.
He said then their rural drive would complement the efforts of all component parties of Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan).
“The setting up these branches would increase Pakatan’s chances of victory in the areas, regardless of whether it is contested by DAP, PKR or even PAS,” said Chong.