Rationing while fasting

Too much to bear: Mariah hopes that the water issues will be resolved so she and her family can look forward to Hari Raya.

KOTA KINABALU: Ramadan is a month that teaches Muslims about humility and patience.

However, for many in Tuaran, Menggatal and Penampang in Sabah, the test of patience is almost too much too bear – they are being forced to break their fast with bottled water and forgo proper baths.

There have been constant water disruptions in these areas.

Many have to buy bottled water to cook and wash themselves, leading to increased costs and much inconvenience. What’s worse, even bottled water is now difficult to get.

Mariah Doksil, 39, from Kampung Rugading Tuaran, said that she only got one carton of bottled water on Thursday.

“We could only cook rice, canned sardines with sambal, and long beans with fried anchovies to break fast on the first day because there was no water supply,” she said.

She and her husband had to wipe themselves clean while their three sons, aged nine, six and four, bathed with bottled water.

“Luckily, the water supply came back for a while during midnight, but it was disconnected again before sahur.

“We managed to stock some water for today (yesterday),” she said.

She is hoping that the authorities will resolve the issue quickly, especially since it is fasting month.

“We have been experiencing power disruptions as well,” she said.

Linah Osmon, from Kimoligan in Penampang, said the water disruptions had been going on for four days.

“Someone, please do something. Every time we call the Sabah Water Department, no one answers. When we go to their office, they just tell us to wait.

“How can we continue living like this? We have to take care of our children’s needs and prepare for the breaking of fast and other things,” she said.

State Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun urged agencies in charge of infrastructure and works to act quickly, as the private sector would.

“Road maintenance, upgrading, and water supply must be prioritised,” he said yesterday after receiving a courtesy call from Sabah Public Works Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya at his office in Menara Kinabalu.

On March 17, Shahelmey said Sabah was facing an acute water supply shortage, especially in northern Kota Kinabalu.

“Overall, on the west coast, Kota Kinabalu, Putatan, Penampang, Papar, and Tuaran are currently facing a water shortage of 116 million litres per day,” he said.

He said the construction of a new water source and treatment plants would take at least three years, or in the case of small plants, at least 12 months, if funds were available.

Shahelmey said mitigation measures were being taken in anticipation of the completion of Telibong II Phase II water treatment works with a capacity of 80 million litres per day.

These include water rationing and the distribution of water by tankers.

The Sabah Water Department is also considering small water treatment plants in areas with independent water providers, such as Putatan.

However, these were not ideal solutions and could be costly in the long run, he said.

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Ramadan , water , disruptions


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