KUCHING: The water problems in the northern hinterlands of Sarawak will soon be a thing of the past as works to provide clean water supply to the area are ongoing.
Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said eight longhouses in the area would be equipped with stand-alone water treatment plants through the Highland Development Agency (HDA) soon.
“Telang Usan and Mulu constituencies are thankful to the Chief Minister for these initiatives,” he said in a statement on Monday (Aug 3).
He added that each of the water treatment plants would cost RM10 million to RM15 million.
Dennis said the projects would be of great help to the Kayans, Kenyahs and Penans who lived in the longhouses.
The longhouses are Long Bemang, Sg Apoh; Long Pillah, Ulu Baram; Daleh Long Pelutan, Ulu Baram; Long San, Ulu Baram; Long Luyang, Ulu Tinjar; Long Batan, Ulu Tinjar; Long Anap and Long Kevuk.
“These longhouses water projects are in the first phase of implementation using the HDA allocations,” he said.
The Telang Usan assemblyman said other initiatives such as the Sarawak Alternative Water Supply (Sawas) programme under the Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) were also ongoing.
“These will be implemented at Long Liam Keliman, Ulu Baram and Long Sobeng, Ulu Tinjar,” he added.
Other efforts to provide clean water to rural communities in Sarawak — like the Sarawak Alternative Water Supply (Sawas) projects — were being carried out through the Rural Water Supply Department, Dennis said.
“The government will build these systems at Long Liam Keliman, Ulu Baram and Long Sobeng of Ulu Tinjar,” he revealed.
Due to various factors, Dennis said it would take a bit of time for the state government to meet all of the requests for clean water from the people of Telang Usan.
“I have raised this need through various platforms and my plea was heard by two youth associations from Kuala Lumpur who called themselves Malaysian Humanitarian Movement (MYHumanitarian) and International Youth Centre Kuala Lumpur (IYCKL).
“Since 2017, after several meetings, I brought them to see and present the proposal to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“He was very accommodative with the proposal and therefore, the first Projek Komuniti Gotong Royong Saluran Bekalan Air Bersih in Telang Usan was done and completed in April 2019 at Long Puak, Lower Baram,” he said.
Dennis added that two more proposals had been brought up to the chief minister.
“I am thankful to the chief minister for supporting the same Gotong Royong projects to be done at Uma Akeh Longhouse and Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK)St Pius Long San.
“I am confident that once the projects for the school are completed by August 2020, the issue of no water supply will be resolved.
“I will seek consent from the chief minister to implement another two of these projects at two Penan settlements, namely Long Latie, Sungai Layun and Long Sayan and Ulu Sungai Apoh.
“All these water projects are done to complement what the state government has done for Sarawak,” he explained.