SEMPORNA: Island residents here are hoping for the federal government to emphasise the development of basic facilities on their islands in the 2023 Budget, which will be tabled this Oct 7.
Head of the Pulau Larapan community, Saidun Sarabal, 47, hoped that the federal government would consider providing allocations for a clean water supply project for the more than 2,000 residents on the island.
"Our problem is that there is no clean water supply, We have been relying on rainwater. If there is no rainwater, we have to go to Semporna town to buy clean water.
"The trip (two ways) costs us RM40 (for fuel) and for a RM30 water supply, it is only enough for two days,” he told Bernama.
A resident on Pulau Sumandi, Abdul Ali Abdul, 44, also hoped that the water woes on the island, which has a population of about 1,000 people, would be resolved under the Budget 2023 with the provision of an allocation for the building of water tanks and wells.
"Like other island residents in the area, we rely on rainwater for our water supply, if there is no rainwater, we have to go to Semporna town to buy water and that is only for cooking purposes," he said.
Another resident of Pulau Sumandi, Madrasah Abdul, 29, hoped the existing wooden bridge that was built about 10 years ago to link the houses in the water village could be replaced with a better bridge.
"...some parts of the (wooden) bridge are waiting for the time to collapse, we hope that the government will pay attention to the problems facing us," he said.
A teacher at an alternative school on Mabul Island, Erra Eddie, 26, hoped that the telecommunication services on the island, which is inhabited by about 4,000 people, would be upgraded through the construction of more telecommunications towers on the island.
He said he had problems downloading teaching materials because of poor Internet access on the island.
"Telecommunications coverage on Mabul Island is still unstable. The internet or telephone lines often do not work well, making things difficult.
"There are times when residents have to go to the beach to get a phone signal to contact outsiders," he added.
Meanwhile, Sulabayan Community Development leader Abd Manan Indanan hoped that the budget would provide allocations for upgrading the Pulau Bum Bum Health Clinic, as well as security checkpoints at Pulau Boheyan, Mataking and Denawan.
He said a marine fire station should also be set up in Semporna to expedite response to fire incidents and other emergencies on the islands. - Bernama