PD POLLS | Better internet coverage and access to telecommunications are among the requests of the Orang Asli in the 108-year-old Kampung Bukit Kepong in Port Dickson, as it is a necessity today.
The village's tok batin, Omar Goming, 61, said the location of his village south of Port Dickson and surrounded by hills resulted in poor internet coverage and telecommunications access.
"It makes communications with the outside world difficult especially during emergencies. Let us have a telecommunications tower here to boost further internet access and coverage. It is a problem we've faced for a long time despite repeatedly raising it.
"We hope the government will build a telecommunications tower because the village has internet access and communications problems," he told Bernama today.
The 35.49 ha Kampung Bukit Kepong which was an eco-tourism area offering chalets-based homestay and handicraft products, now had more than 170 residents.
As a tourist attraction especially from China, Singapore, Japan, India and the United States, the village should have good internet coverage to enhance the image of tourism products in Negeri Sembilan.
Kampung Bukit Kepong, equipped with a public hall, treatment hall, custom hall and village library, also had 31 houses under the government-developed Housing Programme for the Poor (PPRT).
Omar said most of the villagers were cash crop farmers and (rubber, oil palm) smallholders while some worked in the hotels of Port Dickson.
Meanwhile, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA) director Haslin Abdul Razak said Kampung Bukit Kepong's internet problem should be addressed to promote the village.
"The village, which was crowned runner up in the 2014 Sejahtera Village Award, was also nominated as an eco-tourism village but has no telecommunications tower. So we hope this village will be able to get help for the construction of a tower so that many activities here can be boosted, "she said.
Haslin said if the issue that hit Kampung Bukit Kepong were telecommunications problems, in Kampung Orang Asli Sunggala it involved drainage, home repairs and house constructions.
Negeri Sembilan has 69 Orang Asli settlements with Jempol and Jelebu districts recording the largest Orang Asli populations.
The Port Dickson district has two Orang Asli settlements in Bukit Kepong and Sunggala with 265 residents in both areas and 110 of them are voters.
Port Dickson's parliamentary seat by-election would be held after the incumbent Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, 68, vacated it on Sept 12 to give way to Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest and return to the Dewan Rakyat.
The by-election would see a seven-cornered fight involving Anwar, who recently won the PKR presidential post, representing Pakatan Harapan, PAS candidate Mohd Nazari Mokhtar and five independent candidates including Anwar's former personal assistant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan and former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Mohd Isa Abdul Samad.
In the 14th general election, on May 9, Danyal Balagopal won the seat with a majority of 17,710 votes defeating BN's VS Mogan and Mahfuz Roslan from PAS.
The Port Dickson parliament has 75,770 registered voters comprising 43 per cent Malay, Chinese (33 per cent), Indians (22 per cent) and other races (two per cent).
The Election Commission (EC) has set Oct 13 as polling day and next Tuesday (Oct 9) as the day of early polling.