Dry jokes are not funny in Justice Village
February 22, 2012
The folk of Kampung Dacing Hilir are happy only when the heavens open.
LENGGENG: Their village takes its name from the scales of justice that we see on the ubiquitous Barisan Nasional (BN) flags, but the folk of Kampung Dacing Hilir think it is all a bad joke. They have been waiting for the BN government to supply them with running water since it gave their community its name 11 years ago.
“What justice are you talking about when all we have for drinking water is acid rain?” said villager Kamarudin Lajis, 47. “We have been living like this for more than a decade.” Kampung Dacing Hilir is about 25km from Seremban.
When it rains, the 20 families that live there catch the water in large zinc and PVC containers for washing, cooking and drinking. What happens when it does not rain?
“In dry seasons, we have no choice but to fork out hard-earned money for bottled mineral water or the distilled water that they have in those vending machines,” Kamarudin said.
According to him, the villagers in fact use rain water only during rainy seasons. “If it rains only occasionally, the water has an acidic smell and is bitter on the tongue.
We avoid it for the sake of our health.” A couple of years ago, the authorities laid water pipes that run across the front yards of all the houses in the village, but these have yet to be connected to the mains.
“I complained twice to SAINS (Syarikat Air Negri Sembilan) last year, but they told me it’s not their responsibility,” said villager Zaiton Idris, 47. “I bought two large PVC containers to catch the rain water for everyday use. But the water is not always clean. Sometimes, if I use it for bathing, I get itchy all over.”
It appears that the villagers have been complaining to the wrong authority. According to Azlan Abdul Aziz, SAINS’s manager for customer services, they should have complained to the district office. “We cannot supply piped water to rural areas unless directed by the district office,” he told FMT.
“If the district office receives a complaint from the villagers and makes an application to SAINS, then we will take action.” Nevertheless, he promised that he would investigate any complaint lodged with SAINS.
The State Assemblyman for Lenggeng, Mustafa Salim, called for patience, saying the problem would be solved soon. He said SAINS was the midst of negotiations with a contractor to connect the pipes to ensure social justice for the folk of Kampung Dacing Hilir.