Children playing games at the Maju Bentong carnival tour at Lurah Bilut Felda settlement in Bentong.— Photos by NORAFIFI EHSAN/ The Star
BENTONG: The Maju Bentong! carnival tour brought fun and laughter to the quiet Lurah Bilut Felda settlement with exciting games, performances and competitions to keep the villagers entertained.
The event was an initiative by Bentong MP Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who wished to see the people in his constituency forging closer ties and developing better understanding with each other.
Several government agencies, including Pos Malaysia, Road Transport Department and Road Safety Department, also opened up their kiosks to conduct general health checks and provide one-stop services to the locals.
Road safety education programmes were also organised to raise awareness, in line with the hopes of Liow, who is also Transport Minister, to make the roads a safe space for all users.
In his speech, Liow briefed the people on the development plans for Bentong and the progress of the central spine road as well as the proposed East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.
He added that these projects would create many economic opportunities for the more-than-a-century-old mining town and eventually transform it into a booming tourist attraction.
“I want to bring up Bentong, make it a comfortable place to live in and improve the people’s quality of life. This is my agenda,” he said to loud applause.
Liow also presented certificates of excellence to students with outstanding academic performance, including Tan Mee Yee, who scored a CGPA of 4.0 in her STPM examination last year.
For Yew Ai Chong, the carnival brought so much fun and enjoyment to her retired farming life.
The 85-year-old was living alone in Lurah Bilut — one of the first Felda settlements in Malaysia — as all her 11 children were working in the cities.
“There’s nothing much I can do here. I watch television and chit-chat with fellow villagers at the coffee shop to pass my free time.
“Thank you for organising the carnival here,” said Yew, who cycled to the carnival to watch the performances and took the health screening tests.
Rossuriza Abdullah Sani, 32, was also happy to be able to introduce her curry chicken to other villagers at the event.
“I did not use santan (coconut milk) in the cooking due to health concerns and added some tomato. It is my own recipe,” said the housewife who started cooking for her family at the age of 12.
She participated in a cooking competition for the first time at the carnival.
The Maju Bentong! programme, which started last Saturday at SMK Khai Mun here, will be held in all 40 districts of Bentong.