Dreadful road conditions on the main road leading to Kampung Pagoukon Makalias in Tenom have affected the livelihood of farmers and smallholders there, prompting them to plead to the authorities to resolve the matter.
With their income already severely affected by the pandemic for about a year now, their misfortunes seem unending as the pothole-filled road to their village has rendered them unable to sell their produce.
Efforts to reach the authorities have drawn a blank, leaving their produce on their farms.
“Buyers are not coming to buy our bananas because their vehicles can’t travel on that road. I’m forced to walk to my farm, too, because even motorcycles can’t pass,” said farmer Tumah Janip, 30.
“Our livelihoods, which pretty much depend on the sale of our bananas, have been severely affected.”
Another villager, Saimon Sanduan, 45, said the main road was important to them, describing it as the “economic heartbeat” of the village, but no one has come forward to make repairs.
“Not only is the road muddy every time it rains, but there are many potholes, too. No customer would be willing to use that road,” he said.
Nicholas Gadit, 66, said about 50 smallholder families use the road to get to their farms every day. Although they have grown used to the conditions, it is not the same for potential customers.
“Most of the villagers in Kampung Pagoukon Makalias are full-time farmers and their income depends on their agricultural produce.
“We ask the authorities, including the state government, to pay attention to the problems we’re facing,” said Nicholas, who is also a former civil servant.
Some villagers are also rubber smallholders, but the road conditions have prevented even officials from the Sabah Rubber Industry Board from visiting the village to buy their rubber produce.