Drastic measures needed to resolve water crisis, says Sabah MP

Mustapha (second right) inspecting the water supply situation in the Sepanggar constituency.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Water Department must take drastic measures to resolve the water supply crisis that continues to haunt residents in the Sepanggar area near here.

Sepanggar MP Mustapha Sakmud said more than 300,000 residents in the constituency, which was also home to the naval base, relied on the department’s efficiency once and for all to address this problem.

ALSO READ: Sabahans make do as Ramadan arrives amid endless water cuts

He said the government must focus on and expedite the completion of the Telibong 2 water treatment plant project, located in nearby Tuaran district.

He added the Federal Government had also previously stated its willingness to help the state government on this matter.

“I urge the Sabah Water Department to take drastic actions in such a situation. This is no longer a normal water supply issue but a water crisis,” he said after inspecting the water situation in his constituency on Friday (March 24).

“The department needs to speed up the completion of the Telibong 2 water treatment plant project.

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“The Federal Government through Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had previously expressed readiness to help the state government to resolve infrastructure and water problems in the state in aspects of allocation,” Mustapha added.

The water supply problem has worsened over the past 24 months, with not only Sepanggar affected but also areas around the state capital as well as neighbouring districts such as Penampang, Tuaran and Papar.

Faced with either dried taps, low water pressure or perennial unscheduled water cuts, residents have even taken their frustrations to social media but nonetheless the issue still persisted.

On March 17, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya said state authorities have taken immediate, short-term measures to address the ongoing water shortage in various parts of Sabah.

Shahelmey, who is also the state Works Minister, said some of the initiatives include distributing water to affected areas by modifying piping systems.

The distribution of water supply in phases, he added, was also being done in affected areas based on requests.

ALSO READ: Water supply disruption in Labuan at critical stage, says MP

He said those facing water shortages over a few days could call and request for water to be delivered to them, adding there was also scheduled water rationing for certain areas so that daily operations could still go on.

“How fast the water supply reaches them, however, is based on the availability of staff and the logistics at the time of request.

“An Emergency Water Supply Scheme (EWSS) is being built to cater to customers in the northern parts of Sabah as well,” Shahelmey added.

In other developments, Mustapha said he was also waiting to be called for a meeting by Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) to find the best solution to address squatter issues in Sepanggar area which was also linked to previous water thefts.

A new mechanism was needed, he said, to resolve the issue of squatters in the constituency by taking into account the humanitarian aspects but without neglecting the interests of the people in general.

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