Although Sungai Perangin Village is only a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, she said the Orang Asli villagers have been living off-the-grid, without basic utilities such as electricity, water, and phone coverage.

They only have electricity generators and water from a nearby river, which they share cables and pipes for among 20 families.

“Hanging out with the villagers gave me a shock,” Alya recounted on Twitter.

“As they do not have Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) providing them electricity, they have generators and pull the cables here and there. Imagine, we (city dwellers) will only spend about RM300 monthly on our electricity bills with the air-conditioning on, but for them, just to light three to four rooms (with single light bulbs), they have to spend up to RM600,” she explained, summarising that being energy poor is expensive.

The solar panels will not only give them light, but will also save them money from purchasing petrol and more lamps, reduce their exposure to noise and smog pollution from their generators, and also allow the children to study for school later into the night.

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