KOTA KINABALU, Jan 24 — The Sabah State Water Department is incurring losses between RM150 million and RM180 million a year due to illegal water connections in Sabah.
Its director Edward Lingkapo said such illegal water connections have not only caused financial losses to the department, but have also brought a huge burden to the consumers.
“Illegal water connections around Sabah have caused huge losses to the department with losses between RM150 million to RM180 million a year.
“For the northern part of Kota Kinabalu alone, namely in Telipok, Menggatal, Sepanggar and certain parts of Tuaran, such illegal water connections have caused the department losses of up to eight million litres of water per-day or RM160,000 per-day, which amount to about RM4 million a year.
“Most of these illegal connections are taking place at illegal squatters or under state reserved lands and residences living nearby are the ones that are affected the most.
“They (residences) are our consumers as they are paying for the water but unfortunately are unable to enjoy the commodity due to these illegal connections,” he said during an illegal water connection operation by the State Water Department at Tobobon Ratau in Menggatal, here yesterday.
The three days operation, which involved the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, City Hall and the police, will be carried out at several illegal squatters that have been identified to be active in illegal water and electricity connections.
Lingkapo said by carrying out such illegal water connection operations, the department hoped that it could somehow help solve the water shortage problem that has been affecting the residences in the area.
“We have received close to 400 complaints from our consumers of illegal water connections, taking place in their areas.
“So if we can stop illegal water connections from taking place such as in the northern part of Kota Kinabalu, imagine how much litres of water we can supply to residents in UUC and UCA in Menggatal,” he added.
Meanwhile, when asked how many suspects have been charged in court for carrying out such illegal activities, Lingkapo said the department is unable to take any action against them as most of the suspects are illegal immigrants.
“Unfortunately, we cannot charge them or bring them to court as they are not local or do not have legal land status. So although they are local, if they do not have legal land status, we cannot charge them or take action against them.
“Therefore to combat such illegal activity from taking place, we need all relevant departments to be involved and to work together to help stop illegal connections, be it illegal electricity or illegal water connections from taking place,” he said. — Borneo Post