PITAS: Some 200 families in five villages here are now benefitting from clean and regular water supply following the installation of water supply systems under Yayasan Petronas Program Memampankan Ekonomi Asas Rakyat (MEKAR), which aims to improve the well-being of the B40 communities.
The villages are Kampung Boribi Kanibongan, Kampung Gunsali, Kampung Mapad Kanibongan, Kampung Ranggal, and Kampung Mangkapon Darat which are about four hours’ drive from Sabah’s capital city Kota Kinabalu.
“We hope that the local communities will be able to enjoy a consistent supply of clean water that is now available to them, especially during dry season,” Yayasan Petronas Chief Executive Officer Shariah Nelly Francis said.
With the support of Petronas Sabah and Labuan, the project involved the Pitas District Office, Village Development and Security Committee (JPKK), village heads and contractors from the beneficiary villages, as well as KLCC Projeks Sdn Bhd as the technical advisor, and Tonibung as the implementation partner.
The project, implemented over a period of 18 months, involved the provision of a clean water supply system that is easy to access, simple to operate, and safer than, for instance, trekking uneven terrain to a water source such as the river.
“We hope that the villagers will work together to maintain this system so that it can remain functional in the long term,” Shariah Nelly said.
The supply of water utilises a gravity-fed system as well as solar-powered water pumps, and also comprise water catchments, pipes, pump houses, water filters, main storage tanks, and collection points.
To signify the completion of this project, a handover ceremony was recently held at Kampung Mangkapon Darat officiated by State Minister of Rural Development Datuk Jahid Jahim.
Also present were Yayasan Petronas Chief Executive Officer Shariah Nelly Francis, PETRONAS Senior Vice President of Project Delivery & Technology Bacho Pilong, Head of Petronas Sabah and Labuan Siti Ayu Abdul Wahab, and Tumpulan Tompung, representing the Mangkapon Darat JPKK.
Joining them were Director of State Economic Planning Unit Jasmine Teo, who is the Co- chair of the Sub-Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility, one of the six sub- committees under the Sabah-Petronas Joint Coordination Committee, and Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Frederick Kugan, a member of the sub-committee.
The ceremony also included a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activity, in which students from the villages, led by four Program Duta Guru (PDG) teachers, learnt to assemble mini race cars using simple materials such as balloons, water bottles, and bottle caps.
Thereafter, the students took their cars to a competition, to showcase and cultivate interest in STEM.
MEKAR is part of Yayasan Petronas community well-being and development focus area. Meanwhile, PDG is Yayasan PETRONAS’ signature programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, through Pusat STEM Negara, under its education focus area.
PDG aims to upskill 4,500 teachers nationwide in higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) to serve as role models in the delivery of STEM subjects to students. Both programmes are in line with the Petronas Sustainability Agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.