Friday, September 6, 2013

Impian Sarawak: Lights that Give Them Brighter Future

Before I came to Kampung Sait I thought my childhood was tough, no more after I met with Victoria, Cynthia and Redina here.  Believe it or not, these 3 girls in the picture always face with the possibility of doing their school works in darkness.  

Victoria, Cynthia and Redina (from left to right) and I. :) 

As many other native settlements in Sarawak, Kampung Sait is not connected to electrical grid for electricity. They have to use generator to power up their houses. So it is very common that many families still use candles and oils lamps at night. For the family that can afford generators, they normally can only afford to turn on the generator for a few hours at night, usually 7pm-10pm. 

For your information, while many of the villagers earn just a few hundreds per month, they need to pay so much more for electricity – the electricity generated from a diesel generator is about 40% more expensive per kWh than electricity we obtain in the city from the grid. There are times when the family is cash tight and can't afford diesel in that particular days, these girls need to study with their oil lamps. 

How in 2013 that Malaysian children are still deprive of the proper lighting to study? I believe everyone in this nation, regardless of the family income, should be entitled with equal opportunity to excel - that is, if they work hard enough, they will be able to be successful and achieve their dreams. With that, I believe every leader in this nation should work hard to ensure that the children get proper lighting to study. Sometimes leadership is not about complicated policies, it's about providing the most basic needs to the most neglected group in the country. 

The Barisan Nasional government did at once do rural electricity project at Kampung Sait by installing solar panels in the whole village. However, most of the solar panels were broken in less than a month and now none in the village was functioning. So these solar panels you see in the pictures are all not functioning. Believe me, this solar panel project is an expensive project and you need no further explanation to know who benefited from this project.  

I still remember the night I spent in Kampung Sait without electricity. It was dark, I needed to put torch by my side so I could use it if I need to go to toilet or somewhere in the middle of the night. The heat and the mosquitoes made getting into sleep, hmmmm, very difficult.  Of course, I didn’t sleep well that night.

I hope that with micro hydro-electric dam project and maintenance by the villagers (we'll allocate fund to their tabung managed by a committee), we can light up the many similar native villages for long term without putting financial burden to the people. 

I hope that the likes of Victoria, Cynthia and Redina can go home from school every day knowing that if they need to do their schoolwork at night, they can do it in brightness.  Let us bring light to their nights and henceforth bring lights to the future the children in Sarawak rural areas.

Change in Malaysia will not be possible without change in Sarawak, change in Sarawak will not be possible without a change of mindset of rural Sarawak, change of mindset will not be possible without Pakatan Rakyat going to the ground and give tangible benefits to the people. 

This is what Impian Sarawak is all about. For more information, visit: