Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu has been Layar's assemblyman for 38 years yet longhouses in his constituencies are without piped water and roads.
KUCHING: Frustrated voters in the Layar constituency, the homebase of Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu, are demanding that he step down following his failure to solve the acute water shortage affecting more than 1,940 families.
The calls for his resignation have become louder as water shortage has hit 80% of the longhouses in his constituency.
Up to June 27, more than 1,940 families have been without water due to a prolonged drought that has affected other areas in the state.
Layar constituency, which Jabu has represented for more than 38 years, was the worst hit.
And it’s not the first time. Drought and water shortage is a seasonal presence in Sarawak.
Despite knowing it will happen Jabu has not done anything to mitigate the problem.
Said Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian: “The people are starting to ask Jabu what has he been doing all these years.
“He knows very well that the water shortage is always there. The people have been experiencing it repeatedly. It is not an unusual drought.”
No piped water to longhouses
Bian, who is also the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, said the fact that Jabu had held office for 38 years and did nothing to mitigate the situation is a “valid” reason for people to call for his resignation.
“Jabu has failed the people in his constituency. He has not heard the request and cry of the people for the last 38 years.
“It is a valid reason for the people not only to question his leadership quality, but also to call on him to step down as their elected representative,” he said, adding that Jabu has not only failed the people of Layang and Betong but also the rest of Sarawak.
Betong division, where Layar sits, is allegedly the worst hit by the water shortage.
Although the Betong town itself is unscathed, longhouses in the outlying areas are badly affected. Until today, numerous longhouses near Betong are without piped water.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Jabu proposed to build a temporary dam on the upper reaches of a river in the Betong Division to raise its water level and ease drought-stricken villages in the division.
He said the dam would impound the water that flowed from upstream to alleviate the water shortage problems experienced by the villagers ever since the dry season started.
“I have discussed with the Betong Public Works Department divisional engineer to take steps to build a low weir by pushing in gravels from the river base to build a temporary dam, probably rising up to two metres,” he said.
He said that as a long-term measure, a new water treatment plant and roads were being constructed in Krian.
The government, he said, was also upgrading the present one near Betong Town.