KOTA KINABALU: More than 1,000 residents at a teachers’ quarters in Bukit Padang here can finally heave a sigh of relief after the government agreed to temporarily provide them with free water supply starting today.
The residents at the Education Institute Quarters (KIPS) here had been without clean water supply for almost a month after the Sabah Water Department was forced to disconnect the supply over unpaid bills of RM700,000.
Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Peter Anthony said 15,000 gallons of water will be sent to all the 17 blocks at the quarters, comprising 320 units.
“How can the teachers living here carry out their work if they are without water?
“I have instructed the water department to resolve the problem by sending water supply immediately,” he told reporters when met at the quarters.
Anthony said officers from the water department found leakages in the piping system, which was the likely cause of the high water bill.
“Whenever someone turns on the tap, the bill can reach up to RM18,000 in 10 days. That is why the arrears had gone up to RM700,000, accumulated since 2017.
“We believe there is a serious leakage problem because even if the users did not settle their bills, it is unlikely the sum could have reached that high,” he said.
He said the department would appoint a consultant to zero in on the problem and carry out repair works as soon as possible.
Anthony said the department would also negotiate the sum of the arrears with the state education department.
He had said earlier the department had been forced to disconnect the water supply to the quarters after the education office failed to settle the debt.
Anthony also suggested that the federal government authorise the state government to oversee matters such as monitoring and maintenance of federal projects and facilities in Sabah.
“This is to avoid instances like the one at KIPS. There are similar problems throughout Sabah so the state needs authority to monitor,” he said.
KIPS is under the jurisdiction of the education ninistry.