Sabah opposition fears typhoid cases linked to bad water after contracts ended

There have been water supply disruptions in several areas in Sabah, and the state opposition blames it on the decision to terminate contracts of water treatment concessionaires. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah opposition leader has linked several cases of typhoid fever reported in Kudat district last Friday to the deterioration of water quality in the state, and criticised the state government’s decision to terminate the contracts of water treatment concessionaires.

SAPP deputy president Richard Yong said the termination of 58 contracts on Jan 15 had disrupted the consistency of water supply and affected water quality.

“It is reasonable to suspect the quality of water could be a cause for it (typhoid fever).

“The state government must address the water supply problem immediately. Any delay will only extend the people’s suffering,” he said.

Richard Yong.

A typhoid fever outbreak was declared in Kudat in the north of the state after five people were confirmed to have contracted the disease.

According to a circular from the Kudat health department which has gone viral on social media, the cases were confirmed as typhoid by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s pathology department on Feb 21.

Kudat district officer Sapdin Ibrahim was reported as saying that the situation was under control, adding the outbreak was brought in by those coming from the Philippines.

Yong accused the state of ignoring consumers in its decision to terminate the contracts of water treatment concessionaires.

“The Sabah government took drastic action in the Sabah Water Department, but the entire process didn’t consider the effect it would have on the daily life of people.

“The government should always think of people first. Any action for whatever reason, should not jeopardise the people’s interest,” he said.

He cited reports that 243 homes in The Borneo Beach Villas and Sabah Beach Villas in Karambunai had been facing water shortages since Feb 2.

“The residents of Melinsung Summer Bay Resort Apartment had also complained that the entire residential area was without water supply since Feb 22,” he said.

Previously, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan also raised concerns that the termination of water supply maintenance contracts could worsen water supply disruptions in the state.