Sabah Water Dept probing ‘acts of sabotage’ in Sepanggar water supply system

KOTA KINABALU: Acts of sabotage and water theft are the main reasons for the ongoing water supply problems in Sepanggar, one of the worst-affected regions in Sabah, says Datuk Shahelmey Yahya.

Deputy Chief Minister III said the Sabah Water Department's efforts to supply treated water were often undermined by illegal tapping of the main transmission line by illegal squatters in the area.

“We also recently discovered that some valves had been tampered with,” he told reporters on Friday (June 14).

When asked who had sabotaged the water supply, he replied: “We are investigating this case. No normal person can simply tamper with the valve.”

He said these were the biggest challenges facing the water authority under his ministry, adding that such measures were the root cause of the ongoing water supply disruptions in Sepanggar.

“But we are making every effort to stabilize the water supply and ensure that the people in this area have adequate water supplies,” Shahelmey added.

He said this during a peaceful protest by students of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) against water shortages in front of Menara Kinabalu, the state administration building that houses the office of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

The students, joined by community members and NGOs, had demanded that the state government solve the water supply problem that plagues not only their campus in Likas but also various parts of Sabah.

However, Shahelmey said the government was in the process of implementing nationwide water supply projects, such as building a dam in east coast districts such as Tawau.

“A water treatment plant is also being built in Lahad Datu, while water supply in Sandakan has been restored.

“This does not mean, for example, that the projects we are talking about today will be finished tomorrow.

“It will take a reasonable amount of time to complete, but we need the cooperation of all sides, including water officials and the public,” Shahelmey said.

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