Sabah Water Dept probing 'acts of sabotage' in Sepanggar water supply system

Shahelmey speaking to reporters as UMS students hold a protest over the Sabah water supply problem in the background on Friday (June 14).

KOTA KINABALU: Acts of sabotage and water thefts are the main reasons for the prevailing water supply problem in Sepanggar, one of the worst hit areas in Sabah, says Datuk Shahelmey Yahya.

The Deputy Chief Minister III said efforts by the Sabah Water Department to supply treated water has been frequently undermined by constant illegal tapping of its main transmission line by illegal squatters in this area.

“We also discovered recently that some of the valves had been tampered with,” he told reporters on Friday (June 14).

Asked to elaborate on who was sabotaging the water supply system, he said: “We are investigating this matter, no ordinary people can simply tamper with the valve.”

He said those were the main challenges faced by the water department, which comes under his ministry, adding that such actions were the root cause of the persistent water supply disruptions in Sepanggar.

“But we are trying very hard to stabilise the water supply and ensure adequate water is supplied to the local folk within this area,” Shahelmey added.

He said this during the peaceful protest over water woes by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) students outside Menara Kinabalu, the state administrative building, which houses Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor’s office.

The students, who were joined by members of the community and NGOs, had demanded the state government to resolve the water supply problem not only plaguing their campus in Likas here but also various parts of Sabah.

Shahelmey said, however, the government was in the midst of implementing water supply projects across the state such as building a dam in the east coast districts such as Tawau.

“A water treatment plant is also being constructed in Lahad Datu while the water supply in Sandakan has been restored.

“It doesn’t mean that (for instance) when we talk about these projects today, they will be all ready by tomorrow.

“They need a reasonable amount of time to be completed but we need the cooperation from all quarters including water department officials as well as the people,” Shahelmey said.

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