Kampung Sungai Penjuring - Most Harmonious Village Bags Million Ringgit Prize
Kampung Sungai Penjuring in Bentong is not only known as the longevity village, but has swept up many awards for its effort in upgrading and beautifying the environment. Another feather was added to its cap recently after being awarded the champion in the ‘Anugerah Desa Sejahtera 2012’ (Most Harmonious Village 2012 Award). The glory was not the only prize as the village bagged prizes of some RM 1.025 million!
According to Wong Yat Weng, village head for this “Million Ringgit New Village”, while their win was the collective effort between the village JKKK and all the villagers, they would never have done it without the efforts of Bentong MP Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai and Bilut State Assemblyman Dato’ Hoh Kai Mun. The MP and State Assemblyman have been fighting hard over the years to improve the basic infrastructure of the village so as to improve the villagers' lives and promote peace and harmony.
Anugerah Desa Sejahtera 2012 was organised by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development in conjunction with Merdeka Day, and the Chinese New Village category was added for the first time this year. Wong Yat Weng was invited to the award ceremony held on 31st August at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur and sat down at the same table for dinner with Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister expressed his delight for Dato’ Sri Liow's constituency winning the award, and the winning village was awarded RM 25,000 in cash and a development grant of RM 1 million. Kampung Sungai Penjuring’s JKKK will hold a discussion with the villagers as well as seek the opinion of the MP and State Assemblyman on how to best to use the development grant in improving the village.
The competition was divided into 4 sections with different scoring weightings: Merdeka celebration activities (30%), banner display (20%), commemorative plaque/monument (20%), and village character (30%).
Dato’ Sri Liow congratulated Kampung Sungai Penjuring for winning and he highlighted that the win is the result of the close cooperation between the villagers and their relentless efforts over the years to better themselves. He added that such a collective effort is only possible when everyone is living in harmony. The judges were impressed with how, for the past 8 years, Kampung Sungai Penjuring was able to keep its environment clean, achieve zero crime rate, and every household celebrating Merdeka.
A Simple Life & Clean Environment - the Secret to Longevity
Kampung Sungai Penjuring is located to the left of the road to Raub some 13km from Bentong town. There are more than one hundred households in the village. Statistics showed that those above 70 years old account for 16% of the population, making it the village with the highest percentage of residents above 70 years amongst the 15 new villages in Bentong.
The most important secret to longevity is to be at peace and not get caught up with the hustle and bustle of life! The serenity surrounding the village and the ease at which everyone interacts with each other has made everyone happier and less likely to argue. There are bound to be some conflicts when living together, after all that is part and parcel of social living. However, the villagers firmly believe that there is no conflict a smile cannot ease, and no problems some discussion cannot resolve.
Kampung Sungai Penjuring was named after the Penjuring River, and its flowing water and misty mountain air enshrouds the village in a natural beauty. Furthermore, the absence of factories and responsible management of the village has resulted in a pristine environment free from pollution.
The clear water of Penjuring River used to provide for the villagers before the days of piped water. While the convenience of piped water has replaced fetching water from the river, the river is not forgotten and has become a favorite hangout for Bentongites on weekends.
The love for physical activity is another key to longevity and the villagers get up early every morning to do some work around the fields or in the house to kick start their day.
Kampung Sungai Penjuring was not always this idyllic. Life was tough during the early days of the new village and many had to work long hours on the plantations to earn a living. However, the strong political support has changed all that and many villagers who worked as rubber tappers began to own land and saw an increase in their earnings. The help of the government and the rakyat representatives saw the villagers' lives further improved as tarred roads, piped water, and electric cables were laid.
Life is now more comfortable but the villagers have not completely kicked back. On the dining tables are still home grown vegetables and poultry, and it is this determination to live a full life that has made Kampung Sungai Penjuring the most harmonious village.