Don’t pin failure to solve Sabah water woes on others, says Shafie

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) says student protestors are not the villains for holding a demonstration on the state's water woes.

The Parti Warisan president said that the GRS-led government had yet to resolve the long-standing water crisis in Sabah despite being in power for four years.

"Don't just blame the students for venting their frustrations (or the) people or the Opposition for your failure to resolve Sabah's water problems," he said in a statement on Saturday (June 15).

The protest on Friday (June 14) dubbed #KamiMahuAir, was organised by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) students who wanted the state government to hear their voices, as well as Sabahans' in general, over the lingering water supply problem plaguing various parts of the state including their campus here.

Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Shahelmey Yahya had on Friday argued the demonstration was politically motivated.

On Saturday, GRS information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the presence of Warisan members during the demonstration raised questions over the true motivation behind the rally.

"It is crucial to consider whether this demonstration genuinely addresses water issues or if it is politically motivated to undermine the state government," he said in a statement on Saturday.

He claimed that some demonstrators directed unkind remarks at the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, suggesting a politically charged agenda.

Bangkuai said the GRS-led state government had acknowledged the concerns raised by demonstrators.

"The presence of Deputy Chief Minister and Works Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya to meet with demonstrators and to receive the group's memorandum on behalf of the Chief Minister indicates the state government's openness to public engagement and transparency.

"However, the group insisted on delivering the memorandum directly to the Chief Minister, suggesting ulterior motives and insincerity," he said.

On Friday, the student group coordinator for the demonstration, Mohammad Norhamdin Nordin, said they had told anyone who wanted to take part in the protest to leave their political affiliations at the door.

Bangkuai added that the state government was undertaking efforts to resolve the long-standing water issues, claiming it was a legacy issue.

"We urge constructive cooperation to address these critical issues together.

"Certain groups may continue organising demonstrations under the guise of upholding democratic rights but the state government's commitment to resolving water issues, along with other concerns such as electricity and roads, will be proven over time," Bangkuai said.

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