MIRI: It looks like it will be a miserable month ahead for more than half a million people across Sarawak.
While the majority of Malaysians will be glued to the World Cup, these Sarawakians will be totally left out of all the excitement.
And they will be literally “powerless” to do anything about it.
The group forms about 20% of the 2.5 million people in the state who are still without electricity supply.
They live in around 5,000 longhouses and villages in the 32 rural and sub-rural districts in the state, as well as in squatter resettlement schemes where modern amenities have yet to be installed.
They have no treated piped-water supply system, no modern sewerage and no electricity.
They depend on diesel fuel for generator sets, which produce just enough electricity to light up the fluorescent lamps and bulbs in their homes.
Many of the rural folk who live far away from bazaars or food supply depots, where there is electricity supply and sometimes a TV set, will miss out totally on all the action in Germany.
Considering that most of the World Cup matches will be shown in the wee hours of the morning, it will be impossible for these people to travel to areas with electricity just to watch the matches.
Football fan Justan anak Jimbun, who hails from Long Lellang, some 400km away from his workplace in Miri, said there were 800 people in his village and they had used generator sets for as long as he could remember.
The civil servant said generator sets were unpredictable.
They could only be switched on for a certain number of hours and there was a limit to how many appliances could be connected up.
“These generators cannot be used to power television sets,” he said.
Furthermore, most of rural Sarawak only receives radio transmissions.
“At least those who have migrated to urban areas will get to enjoy the World Cup.
“Those back home can only listen to the radio and even then, the receiver can only get local radio networks, not foreign sports stations,” he said.