Boats a lifeline for Orang Asli during monsoon

Plying the waterways: Villagers using the donated boats to pick up necessities after main roads in Kahang were submerged in floodwater. — Bernama

KLUANG: Three boats contributed by the Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) in 2018 are now the lifeline for the Orang Asli community, especially during the flood season.

Hadin Awang, an Orang Asli from Kuala Sengka near here, said they were a boon to the villagers and were thankful to the government.

“We did not have to pay a single sen for the boats which are used by the villagers, ” he said after receiving dry food contributions from the Welfare Department and Jakoa.

Hadin said the flood since last Saturday inundated the road connecting the village with the main road under almost 3m of water and cut connection to nearby shops.

He said the shops had also run out of food supplies and other basic necessities as the main road was flooded and blocked by landslides.

“We use the boats to cross the flooded oil palm estates to get some food supplies from the neighbouring Kampung Orang Asli Air Pasir, which is located about 2km from here.

“We have also placed nets in certain areas to catch fish and we share the catch with the residents of the neighbouring village, ” he said.

About 200 food packs were distributed to the residents of the two villages.

Kluang district Jakoa community development assistant Mohd Fadhil Khosnan said the department always took seriously the information given by the Orang Asli regarding the condition of the river and their villages.

“When there is a flood, we will immediately report to the relevant authorities to take action, including evacuation, ” he said.

Air Pasir Orang Asli village head, Jala Mahida, also thanked the government and the agencies that contributed to the residents of his village.

“This is how it is, during every flood season, the route to this village will be flooded, so I appeal to Jakoa to propose to the government to approve a road construction project to our village, ’’ he said. — Bernama

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