UMS students hold protest over Sabah’s water woes in front of Hajiji’s office

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) students went ahead with their protest over the state’s water woes despite the absence of a police permit to do so on Friday.

The group numbering less than 50 people marched about 5km from the UMS campus to Hajiji’s office at the state administrative building here, known as Menara Kinabalu, amid a visibly high presence of police at about 2.30pm.

The students who were joined by one or two NGOs highlighted the serious problems faced by people in various parts of Sabah and not just the UMS campus.

Armed with placards, banners, a loudspeaker and a tom-tom drum, the group sang and shouted “bangkit” (rise) and “air-air” (water, water), among others, as they walked from the campus right to the front of Menara Kinabalu.

UMS students hold up placards and banners as they marched towards Menara Kinabalu.UMS students hold up placards and banners as they marched towards Menara Kinabalu.

On the banners, the group expressed their frustration over the problem with words like “We need water, not just political showers” and “We want our basic rights”.

They demanded only to meet Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor to personally hand him a six-point memorandum demanding immediate solutions to the water supply problem statewide.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya had come out to receive the memorandum on behalf of the CM but the group refused.

The group’s coordinator Mohammad Norhamdin Nordin said they will only hand the memorandum to Hajiji and will sit in front of Menara Kinabalu for as long as it takes until the CM comes.

Speaking to reporters, Shahelmey did not rule out that the protest was politically motivated.

“From the words being uttered, the water demands is only an excuse to hold a demonstration, it is more politically motivated,” he said.

Kota Kinabalu police chief Asst Comm Kasim Muda told the group that the CM had agreed to meet them next week but the students still refused to budge and continued to belt out their demands loudly.

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