BATU PAHAT: The Orang Asli community in the Senggarang state constituency is hopeful that whoever is elected as their assemblyman in the Johor election this Saturday will not keep them sidelined from development plans.

An Orang Asli representative, Ahmad Karim, 75, said the Orang Asli community in his village generally accepts whoever administers the Johor State Government, as long as they do not end up being marginalised.

Ahmad, who has been the Kampung Desa Banang headman for the past 10 years, said fishing has been the source of income for a majority of the Orang Asli community in the village.

Sadly, there is no fisherman's jetty in Kampung Desa Banang even though the Batu Pahat Fishermen Association had applied for one almost 10 years ago, he added.

"The issue had been brought up at the Fishermen's Association meeting long ago. We are not asking for much... just a jetty for our convenience as fishermen. We are a bit frustrated. As locals, we do not have a jetty whereas if you look at every jetty in the Batu Pahat district there is one. It is as if we are being sidelined," he said when met by Bernama recently.

At the same time, Ahmad also hoped that the future state assemblyman would be able to solve the flood problem he claimed occurred almost every month in their small village.

He said last month, villagers suffered huge losses due to floods caused by high tide that flooded the village.

"If the east coast suffered floodings every year, in our village, we have to face the threat of flood every month. If you stay by the beach, your house will definitely be flooded. At the beginning of this year many of us suffered losses because of the flood," he said.

Meanwhile, the Orang Asli community in Kampung Sri Pantai said they hoped the state leadership in Johor could provide allocations for fishermen in the village besides maintaining infrastructure at the estuary in the area.

Village headman Ayub Amran, 50, said 70 per cent of the population in the village are traditional fishermen who still use old methods and many are finding it difficult to earn a decent income.

"We hope leaders in the constituency will help in terms of allocating more modern fishing equipment and maintaining the infrastructure such as river estuaries because if it is too shallow, it will be difficult for fishermen to go out and fish. If left unchecked, it will become inaccessible," he said, adding that the villagers also face flood problems caused by haphazard drainage and irrigation systems.

In the upcoming election, the Senggarang state seat will see a five-cornered fight involving Perikatan Nasional (PN) candidate Khairul Faizi Ahmad Kamil, Barisan Nasional's Mohd Yusla Ismail, Pakatan Harapan's Abd Hamid Jamah, Zalihah Jaffar from Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) and Independent candidate Baharudin Abdullah.