The atmosphere at Kampung Langkor, Sungai Siput Perak, which has about 141 Orang Asli led by Tok Batin, Hashim Alang, 60, has now significantly changed. The situation there is not much different from other villages in the vicinity, although it is only a relatively small area. The village is equipped with a community hall, surau and recreation area, just shows that the Orang Asli community is no longer isolated from the current development. There are mostly brick houses in the village.
According to Tok Batin, the village was established in 1985 and until now it has gone through several phases of development including, with the expertise of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), the Department of Aboriginal Development (JAKOA) and the Perak State Department of Health (JKNP), a water filter is being built to facilitate the indigenous people there most recently.
“We are very honoured and delighted with all the changes brought here to improve the well-being of Orang Asli. With the filter, the water that comes into the houses will be safer and cleaner and I am glad it is happening now,” he said happily.
Kampung Langkor residents together with Hashim are always ready to assist in the construction of the water filter and weirs. A 16 year-old Izam Samsul said that he could not wait to go to the construction site to help mixing the cement every day.
“I like to do this, after all, can help to while away the time and meet many people from USM,” he said. Besides him is Ismail Alang, 43, who said that he was pleased with the developments taking place in the village, especially with the construction of weirs and water filter which is significantly higher than the existing weirs.
“The current dam is not safe to use because there are many chemicals that can affect our health from agricultural activities. I am happy to help with the work here and a water filter that is developed by USM lecturers which is different from the others will benefit us,'' said the father of six children.
In the meantime, a representative from JAKOA in-charge of Orang Asli facilities, Saiful Azrin, said that most Orang Asli villages have been developed if compared to 10 to 20 years ago. Water, for example, has not been a problem but if there was, it is concerning a few villages that still do not have access to electricity.
“We have identified those areas concerned and hope electricity will be supplied to them as soon as possible. However, we also hope that there will be parties such as USM or others who can contribute expertise to develop a specific design to generate electricity more efficiently and without incurring a high cost,” he said.