After failing to pay RM8mil electric bill, operators of Sabah's largest mall accused of bribery

KOTA KINABALU: Operators of Sabah's largest shopping centre, the 1-Borneo Hypermall, which had its power supply cut after failing to settle some RM8mil in electricity bills, are now caught in an alleged bribery attempt.

A Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) official lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), alleging that one of the mall's officials had offered a bribe to reconnect power without paying the outstanding amount.

In a statement issued Saturday, SESB spokesman said that the purported attempt to bribe one of its officials occurred at Wisma SESB here late Friday morning (July 13). They immediately lodged a report but did not disclose further details.

SESB, which has been under pressure to reconnect power supply to the mall, said that they had given enough time for the operators to settle the outstanding payments.

An initial power cut last month was stopped after the mall operators paid about RM800,000, with an assurance to make a further progressive payment of RM3mil.

But the mall operators apparently failed to pay up and power was cut again on July 11.

SESB claimed that the operators did not pay up and were instead trying to manipulate and politicise their shortcomings. SESB said they were playing up public sentiments to cover up their own internal failures to resolve the issues at the hypermall.

SESB hopes that there will be a swift resolution to the issue so that people can go back to the hypermall, the statement said.

Earlier on Saturday (July 14), Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal said that the state will not intervene if businesses fail to pay up their utility bills, as it will set a bad precedent.

He said that stepping in would open the floodgates of people asking the state to intervene in cases where people don't pay up their utility bills.

"There will be no end to this kind of request. SESB will not be able to function if they are not paid," he said, adding that it was important for operators to pay the bill.

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