DAP: Rural electrification in Sabah has makings of a scandal


PETALING JAYA: Sabah DAP wants the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to act on what it calls “billions spent on rural electrification over two Malaysia plans” by the rural development ministry but little to show for it.

The statement was the result of various site visits to Sook, a small town and district located in the interior of the state, after the party had received complaints from villagers.

Members from Sabah DAP visited Kg Sinua, Mansiat, Sinaron, Dumbun in Mukim Lanas and Kg Sanang, Bonor, Malaing, and Kalampun, besides Molosok in Mukim Dalit.

They found that all the villages were not electrified despite Pensiangan MP Joseph Kurup having answered Sandakan MP Stephen Wong in Parliament recently that the rural areas had been electrified.

“When will the people benefit from the billions spent. Should the rural electrification projects be added to the Sabah water scandal as another case of bad governance by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN),” Sabah DAP said.

Sook DAP coordinator Clare Taunek also questioned how could a project by the rural development ministry take so long.

“Have any of the contractors been penalised for the delays?” she asked, calling for the auditor-general to also audit the ministry.

Pensiangan DAP coordinator Adrian Banie Lasimbang had also hit out at the BN for using these projects to hold villagers to ransom, as in to “force them to vote for the ruling party”.

Adrian explained this as being the case based on feedback received from the villagers who said that contractors had started erecting electrical poles in the area in 2007, that is before the general election (GE12) in 2008.

“After the general election, the contractors abandoned the job.

“Then in 2012, before GE13 in 2013, the contractors came back and started to install the cables and transformers. As soon as the election was over, the contractors again abandoned the job,” Sabah DAP said.

They added that Sabah Electric Sdn Bhd (SESB) started to install service lines to some houses and began testing the distribution system after DAP Pensiangan produced a short video clip of interviews with villagers in Kg Sinaron, an affected village.

“Unfortunately, many villagers cannot afford to pay the contractors to do the in-house wiring and install meters.”

Tulid DAP coordinator Robinson Rusikan said in Sinaron many houses are still not connected to the grid line.