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Thursday February 28, 2008

Karak faces water problems

KARAK: With its location at the foothills of the country’s main mountain range, this town is an important water catchment area not just for Pahang but for the Klang Valley as well. 

The Government has plans to build a massive RM2bil pipeline linking the Sungai Pahang area to Selangor and the Klang Valley. Part of the pipeline will pass through Karak. 

Ironically, however, the main complaint in this town, as Kampung Sri Telemong headman Chan Hoy Fook revealed, is the constantly disrupted water supply. 

Water woes: The commercial square in Karak. This town has a population of around 10,000 people and is in a middle of a tussle between the DAP and Barisan Nasional in the 12th general election.
“The Government is helping us on local issues such as land titles and we have received lots of assistance in getting tarred roads, water and electricity supply to our village. 

“But we have problems with water cuts,” he said in his speech during a recent Chinese New Year event which was attended by MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai and Sabai assemblyman Datuk M. Davendran. 

Karak is the main town within the Sabai state constituency, which DAP has set its eye on during this general election. 

As the only seat in Pahang held by the MIC, the Opposition is hoping the effects of the Hindraf rally will swing the Indian voters - some 1,900 of the 10,000 registered voters - their way. 

Its vice-chairman Leong Ngah Ngah said as much when he predicted that DAP’s chances in this election lay with Triang (his own state seat), Teras (in the Raub parliamentary constituency) and Sabai. 

Retired Tamil school headmaster S. Suppannan, however, does not think the Hindraf issue will affect much of the Indian voters. 

“But two days before Chinese New Year, there was a breakdown in the water supply that affected some 100 households in Taman Bunga Raya. Some of them did not have water for up to two days. This is the biggest dissatisfaction here,” he pointed out. 

Much of the problem stems from an aged water treatment plant, which has been in service for over 30 years and thus is inadequate even for a town the size of Karak. 

Incumbent Davendran is holding out for the corporatisation of the state water supply agency as a solution to the problem. 

“Once it is corporatised, the company can take bank loans, which it can then invest into better infrastructure,” he said. 

In fact, Davendran is hopeful that the pipeline passing Karak on its way to the Klang Valley will help resolve another more serious issue - unemployment particularly among youths. 

“The main project will be run by professionals from Kuala Lumpur or other countries. But I am sure it will need labour,” he said. 

At least, when the project gets underway – the tender is expected to be called by the middle of the year – Karak will be known by more than just a highway.  


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