Sabah govt confusing people on water supply issue, says former CM

Former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee says a state minister is saying one thing while the Water Department is saying another.

KOTA KINABALU: Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee has accused the Sabah government of causing confusion over the water supply situation in the state amid conflicting statements by various authorities.

He said state Infrastructure Development Minister Peter Anthony had explained that there was water supply disruption in some parts of Sabah due to the dry weather. However, the Water Department said the water in dams and rivers can last another two months.

Adding to the confusion, he said, was the statement by Water and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar who listed on Sunday six states facing water supply problems due to the dry spell: Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah, Pahang and Kelantan – but not Sabah.

Yong, who is president of the Sabah Progressive Party, said Sabah Water Department director Amarjit Singh had assured earlier this month that the state has enough water to last about two months.

He also claimed the state government was using the dry spell to justify its decision to build a mega dam in Papar.

Anthony had said the construction of the RM2 billion dam would start next year and that the project was at the design and surveying phase.

He said the dam would ensure adequate water supply to the growing population in areas surrounding Paper, particularly Kota Kinabalu and Penampang.

“Although we have the Babagon dam and water treatment plants in Tuaran and Beaufort, those are inadequate. If the Papar dam is not built, then the water problem will persist,” Anthony said.

But Yong reminded the state government that the Water Department had cancelled the Tawau and Lahad Datu dam projects the day Amarjit took office as its director.

“The minister has to explain such inconsistencies in decision-making,” he added.

On Anthony’s statement that Amarjit’s appointment as director was lawful, Yong said the matter was for the courts to decide.