UMS water protest: Group ends 17-hour camp-out opposite Menara Kinabalu, fails to meet Hajiji

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) students have ended their protest over the water shortage issue at their campus on Saturday (June 15) morning.

The group had been camping for 17 hours opposite Menara Kinabalu with hopes of personally handing over their six-point memorandum to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

The secretariat of the protest, known as #KamiMahuAir ((#WeWantWater), had earlier refused to hand over the memorandum to Deputy Chief Minister III and Works Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya on Friday (June 14).

Shahelmey is the minister responsible for water issues and was present at the location, ready to meet with the group's representatives.

#KamiMahuAir secretariat coordinator Mohammad Norhamdin Nordin (middle) addressing the media before dispersing their camp-out in front of the Menara Kinabalu building on Saturday (June 15).#KamiMahuAir secretariat coordinator Mohammad Norhamdin Nordin (middle) addressing the media before dispersing their camp-out in front of the Menara Kinabalu building on Saturday (June 15).

Programme coordinator Mohammad Norhamdin Nordin had described the peaceful protest as “very big and meaningful”, not just for UMS, but Sabahans at large.

“We endured 17 hours waiting for the Chief Minister to come and collect the memorandum from us, but he was unwilling, it is alright.

“We have decided not to hand over our memorandum but he will be able to find the memorandum as it is widely publicised on social media,” he added.

Mohammad Norhamdin said that the nine individuals detained by police at the demonstration yesterday included a teacher and eight students.

"The alternative school at Teluk Layang was set up to provide education to stateless children, who are part of the fourth and fifth generations born in Sabah.

“Malaysia, as a member of Unicef’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, has failed to provide the children’s right to education.

“We stand in solidarity with the detained teacher and students and are closely monitoring the case," he added.

Mohammad Norhamdin also denied that the protest was politically motivated, adding that no political party was involved.

“The presence of political figures at the protest was in their personal capacity,” he said.

Yesterday, a group of about 80 individuals, including UMS students, community representatives, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), gathered in front of Menara Kinabalu with the intention of delivering a memorandum to the Chief Minister.

Demand for water at UMS remains high, ranging between three to five million litres per-day (MLD), which is necessary to support its population of around 20,000 individuals, including some 16,000 students.

Currently, UMS receives an average of three million litres of water per-day (MLD) from the Sabah Water Department.

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