Finally, taps run for the Orang Asli in Najib’s constituency

Modified 4 Jan 2016, 3:40 am

Taps are finally running for an Orang Asli community in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's constituency of Pekan, Pahang, after more than a month without water.

"The residents of Kampung Gumum in Tasik Chini told me they just got running water," Pahang Orang Asli Village Network coordinator Shafie Dris told Malaysiakini last night.

Running water came just in time for the first day of school today, allaying community fears that the prolonged shortage would mar Sekolah Kebangsaan Tasik Chini's performance.

SK Tasik Chini's performance has improved dramatically from being one of the worst in the country in 2009, to be in the top five percent.

It is currently ranked 237 out of 7,709 schools nationwide, and had a 100 percent passing rate for UPSR examination from 2011 to 2013.

The 800-plus residents faced regular water shortages, but had never faced one that lasted for more than a month.

They brought their plight to the media after several complaints to the water concessionaires came to naught.

The villagers were left to rely on rain and swamp water to drink and clean as they feared that the wells near Tasik Chini are contaminated by iron mining.

The Orang Asli in Tasik Chini have been fighting for better water conditions for years.

In 2012, the villagers threatened not to vote for BN if the Pahang state government did not save the second largest natural freshwater lake in the country.

They had earlier that year sent a memorandum to Najib , highlighting mining and logging activities that had not only damaged the environment, but also their livelihoods.