SEMPORNA: If there is one thing Semporna folks could wish for the 2018 Budget, it would be to have the funds allocated for developing rural areas to reach and benefit the people.
Every year, villagers in this coastal district wish for clean water supply among others but they have yet to receive the basic necessity.
Laisi Ali, 73, of Kampung Sungai Intan, said they were aware the government allocates a sum of funds yearly to develop basic facilities and infrastructure in the rural and that many development projects are implemented.
“I hope these allocations and projects will someday really reach the ground and benefit the people, especially in Semporna where clean water is a major problem among the villagers.
“It is pointless to announce huge allocation when at the end of the day, it is not being utilised properly and there’s no progress seen in terms of rural development,” he said.
Another villager Muhammad Yakub, 65, said he could only keep hoping for better implementation of development projects in the district.
According to him, the Sungai Intan water treatment plant has not been able to channel treated water to the village despite being completed in 2015.
“We are not demanding much. The water treatment plant is already there but where is the (clean) water? I just wish the government will monitor closely all projects being initiated under its funds to ensure they actually benefit the people,” he said.
Kampung Sungai Intan is among seven villages in Segarong area, where villagers have been digging wells to get water for the past 30 years. In some villages, clean water was only supplied twice a week.
The water treatment plant is currently being scrutinised by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in its ongoing probe over the mishandling of federal funds for rural development projects in Sabah between 2009 and 2015.
Meanwhile, like others, Rakbiah Salleh, 27, of Kampung Bugaya also wished the 2018 Budget would continue to emphasise bringing progress to the people.
Being a tourist destination among avid scuba divers around the world, she said Semporna should have had positive progress by now in terms of basic facilities and infrastructure.
“Semporna is a gateway to diving paradise and tourism here contributes a lot to the state economy. However, Semporna is not quite ‘sempurna’ (perfect) when the people cannot even enjoy basic neccesities.
“The budget needs to also look into bringing better facilities to schools because some schools here are lacking water supply too.
“More importantly, we hope all allocations under the 2018 budget will be chanelled accordingly and managed with full trust,” said the entrepreneur.