KUCHING: Six Bidayuh villages in upper Padawan continue to cry out for basic infrastructure such as roads, piped water and electricity.
The villages are Kampung Sepit, Kampung Kiding, Kampung Assum, Kampung Nusaraya, Kampung Kakas and Kampung Parang.
For five decades, these villagers have been supportive of the government of the day but are now very unhappy because they feel that they have been forgotten.
The villages are in the state constituency of Tarat and the parliamentary constituency of Mambong, of which representatives are Datuk Roland Sagah and Datuk Dr James Dawos respectively.
“It has been the case for generation after generation... these villages can only be reached either by air or by foot,” said Joseph Tau, 51, an elder of Kampung Kiding.
The road to Kampung Kambug is 3km over steep and winding terrain. At the moment, the road is only up to the village and from there it is a stroll to the Kampung Assum-Kampung Kiding junction followed by an uphill climb passing through forests and streams for two hours to get to one’s destination.
“I hope the authorities are not thinking that we have gotten used to the hardship. It’s not like we have any choice.”
He recalled many cases of sick villagers who had to be carried on stretchers for three hours to the nearest road in order to get to hospital — some have even died en route.
He also remembered cases of mothers giving births while being stretchered out in the jungle.
“We also have poor healthcare. The nearest Klinik Desa is at Kampung Annah Rais, and the flying doctor service is only once a month — even that is highly dependent on the weather. Moreover the clinic doesn’t have ready transport there. We have to wait for Good Samaritans to send the sick to hospital.
“When any of the sick villagers die in hospital, we have to carry the casket up to the village. These are not made-up stories but the reality faced by us.
“This is among the many reasons why we want the Government to build a road for us,” said Tau.
With the villagers supporting Barisan Nasional all these years and 2020 being only six years away, he wondered how many more years do they have to wait.
“How can we be a developed nation by 2020 if many villages are still without roads, clean water and electricity? Our area is only about 50km from Kuching. It’s a case of so near and yet so far.”
Former Bengoh assemblyman Datuk William Tanyuh Nub hoped the current people’s representatives would urgently look into these long overdue problems.
“I wanted to address these problems before but after I was not re-nominated to contest in the constituency, they remain.”
Tanyuh said when he was the assemblyman, he initiated the construction of a road to his village, Kampung Kiding. He also wanted to get the road connected to the surrounding villages but half-way, the funds ran out.
“Now that Datuk Dr Dawos won (his seat in the 13th general election), we hope he would look into our plight so that we too can enjoy the fruits of development.”
There are about 300 people in 68 houses at Kampung Kiding, which was established in 1880.