Struggling without basic necessities


Source: The Star Online

Collecting water

Barely getting by: Gunasegaran collecting water for his daily use from a neighbour in Kampung Manis, Prai. Besides water Gunasegaran also has to tap power from electric cables attached to his neighbour’s house. Image via The Star Online

BUTTERWORTH: Despite being surrounded by development, poverty remains a problem for residents of Kampung Manis in Prai.

The 70-year-old village, previously known as Kampung Selut, is ringed by a sugar mill, a railway station and a port.

Located between Taman Inderawasih and the Prai River, its 1,000 residents live in dilapidated homes without proper sanitation or basic necessities.

Grass cutter R. Gunasegaran, 50, said his house turns into an “island” during downpours.

Gunasegaran also gets his electricity from cables connected to his neighbour’s house.

Nur Alisa Ansan, eight, has to eat her meals, complete her homework and bathe before nightfall because her home does not have electricity.

Her family relies on an oil lamp in the living room at night.

“It is dark and quiet at night. So, I have to finish my homework in the afternoon or at school before my father picks me up,” she said.

Her father, fisherman Ansan Othman, 55, said he has been living there with his wife since the 90s.

“The television and radio on the cabinet only serve as a decoration,” he said.

He added that floods are also a persistent problem.

The village’s flood action committee chairman, Mohd Iqbar Kader Gani, said the state government has failed to deliver its promise to repair all the 25 houses badly damaged by the floods.

“Only 10 houses were repaired instead of the 25 promised,” he said, adding that there are 292 houses in Kampung Manis.

Prai assemblyman Dr P. Ramasamy said since some of the houses are on private land and not state land, the state could not initiate any projects on it while Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto said she had contacted the Railway Asset Corporation (RAC) over the matter as the land belongs to them.