Warisan hits out at Sabah DCM’s ‘insensitive’ solution to Kiulu water supply woes

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan has taken the Sabah government to task over its measures to address the water supply issue in the semi-rural Kiulu sub-district, about 40km from here.

More than 200 households in seven villages there, which depended mostly on rivers and gravity water pipe systems for water, have complained of water shortage due to the dry spell and have requested assistance from the government.

Its information chief Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman contended, however, the response by Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Shahelmey Yahya who advised the affected villagers to obtain water from the Tamparuli District Office was somewhat impractical.

“This shows the minister lacked understanding of the reality on the ground and burdens faced by the people,” he said on Saturday (March 2).

While the Tamparuli District Office is located some 12km from Kiulu, the former deputy federal minister said, the hilly terrain would make it difficult for villagers to fetch water there.

He said the geographical challenge was exacerbated by the conditions of some of the roads in the area which made it difficult for vehicles to access, not to mention some villages were located further inland than others.

“Is the minister not aware that by asking the villagers to fetch water from Tamparuli will add on to their burdens?” Mohd Azis said.

“This would be doable for those with vehicles but what about poor villagers who do not have any?

“Does the minister expect them to walk or rent cars when what they can already spend is limited?” he added.

Shahelmey, who is also state Works Minister, had on Thursday (Feb 29) said the Sabah Water Department (JANS) faced difficulties in delivering water to villages in Kiulu due to insufficient water tanker lorries.

He said this in response to complaints from villagers on the water shortage since Feb 19.

Shahelmey added that water was sourced through gravity water pipes in Kiulu and that the shortage was caused by the dry spell.

He said the lack of pipe connections belonging to JANS also made distribution of clean water to the area impossible but said those affected could obtain water at the Tamparuli District Office until the gravity water source recovered.

The villages affected by water supply disruptions are Bungoliu, Tomis Baru, Kelawat, Simpangan Lama, Balabakan, Tomis Mangi Pangi and Bongol.

Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, who visited the affected areas on Feb 27, had said immediate action was needed to address this increasingly pressing water issue.

Towards this end, Mohd Azis suggested the state government undertake several measures including creating clean water distribution centres at the affected villages instead of only establishing one centre in Tamparuli.

“If the government can create temporary relief centres during floods, then they can utilise the same method where they can establish several water collection centres near the villages concerned.

“Water supplies should also be delivered to these centres throughout the drought season,” he said.

Besides that, he suggested a programme whereby water could be delivered to villagers’ doorsteps who did not possess vehicles.

“Ask the leaders, especially those sitting in the government, to move this programme. Don’t just knock on people’s doors only during election season,” Mohd Azis said.

He said the government should also provide financial assistance to affected residents to buy additional water supply when needed.

Mohd Azis added the government should also repair main roads as well as village roads to ensure water could be delivered smoothly to these areas.

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