Improved water supply to UMS after illegal connections dismantled

KOTA KINABALU: Water supply to Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has improved following the recent dismantling of 24 illegal water connections near the institution.

Deputy Chief Minister III Datuk Shahelmey Yahya in confirming this said daily records indicate stable water flow to the university.

However, the Works Minister emphasised the need for a prepaid water meter plan for squatters and regular monitoring, given the tendency for illegal water connections to be re-established shortly after being cut off.

This plan was proposed by the Sabah Water Department (JANS) to install prepaid water meters in squatter areas as a move to combat illegal connections.

Shahelmey said the proposed plan was the most viable solution as the squatters are unable to apply for official water meters because they reside on land that is non-gazetted.

“We aim to implement this initiative within the year. The method is still being fine-tuned and will be finalised soon,” he said at the closing of the 2024 Putatan District Madani Entrepreneur Carnival at Dataran Pomoi, Putatan, on Sunday (June 23).

He also mentioned that JANS is installing static water tanks in four squatter settlements to provide residents with a legal water source.

“We hope these static tanks will reduce the illegal connections, which disrupt the volume of water flowing through the department’s main transmission pipes,” he added.

Addressing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor’s directive to prosecute water thieves, including factories, Shahelmey noted that no factories have been taken to court yet.

However, several factories have been issued warning letters and compounds for water theft, but no specific figures were provided.

“Our Chief Minister has called for stricter actions to serve as a deterrent for all users, including squatters, businesses, and industries, against water theft,” Shahelmey said.

On June 20, Hajiji instructed JANS to enforce laws and bring water theft offenders to court, stressing that factories involved in water theft should face legal proceedings rather than just receiving fines.

Four days earlier, Shahelmey reported that JANS had dismantled 24 illegal water connections to its main water transmission line near Kampung Suang Parai in Sepanggar.

He noted that these illegal connections were near UMS and were affecting the water volume flowing into the university’s main reservoir.

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