More than 80 Orang Asli residents of Kampung Sungai Karah near Lenggong, Perak will for the first time receive sustainable electricity from a 5 kW solar farm, courtesy of PETRONITA, the Wives and Women Staff Association of PETRONAS.
To mark the successful completion of the project and to hand over the solar farm comprising 20 photovoltaic panels to the village residents, PETRONITA held a launch ceremony officiated by PETRONITA Vice President 1, Datin Nazrin Aneeza Nazaruddin. Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Kenering, Yang Berbahagia Dato' Haji Mohd Tarmizi Idris, Pengarah JAKOA Negeri Perak dan Kedah, Harulnizam Abd Rahman, Acting Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib and Head of PETRONITA's Welfare Committee, Azmah Azman also attended the launch ceremony that afternoon.
"After months of hard work under the leadership of PETRONITA, technical expertise from UTP and collaboration from JAKOA as well as the Orang Asli community, we can now celebrate the successful implementation of this sustainable solar project. It is our hope that starting today, the children will no longer need to study with flickering candle lights and the community can have a better chance to progress well in life," said Datin Nazrin during her speech.
President of PETRONITA and wife of the President of PETRONAS, Puan Sri Dr. Azura Ahmad Tajuddin, commenting on the project said, "I would like to commend the women empowerment efforts by the women leaders of PETRONITA's welfare unit as well as the student volunteers from UTP's Green Energy Cluster who have applied their skills and knowledge to empower the community here."
PETRONITA's Rural Solar Electrification Project, in collaboration with UTP and the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA), aims to empower the Orang Asli community, in line with PETRONITA's welfare initiatives as well as PETRONAS' corporate social investment philosophy to contribute towards community well-being and development.
This is the second rural solar electrification project organised and funded solely by PETRONITA, following the success of their champion project in Kampung Batu 20, Tapah, back in 2016.
Set to provide the villagers with electricity 24 hours a day, this project is expected to improve their livelihood by giving them ownership over the system's usage and maintenance besides minimizing safety and health hazards from continuous usage of candles and kerosene lamps.
Kampung Sungai Karah, situated 12 km from the junction of Lenggong-Grik main road, comprises 17 houses made of bamboo and other wooden materials. The village has been without access to electricity and other basic infrastructure partly due to its remote location.
UTP's Dean of Centre for Foundation Studies, Associate Professor Dr Balbir Singh Mahinder Singh said, "Thank you PETRONITA for giving our students excellent opportunities to apply the skills they have learned in this rural solar electrification projects back in 2016 and again this year to make a positive impact besides gaining firsthand experience working with others in less fortunate circumstances."
During the launch event, volunteers under PETRONITA conducted a hygiene workshop for the women community and distributed beauty kits to them. The residents were also given a complimentary health screening, courtesy of PETRONITA's collaboration with Prince Court Medical Centre to help bridge the healthcare and health education divide with marginalised and vulnerable communities throughout the country.
Pengarah JAKOA Negeri Perak dan Kedah, Harulnizam Abdul Rahman, also commented, "I wish to sincerely thank PETRONITA and UTP for their efforts in bringing us one step closer to ending energy poverty and improving the livelihood of the residents of Kampung Sungai Karah."