KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Water Department says foul play may have caused a number of pipes and water valves to burst on the west coast, affecting thousands of consumers.
Department director Amarjit Singh said he suspected the incidents were caused by sabotage or vandalism although he could not ascertain who could be responsible.
Amarjit denied the constant disruptions were due to ineffective water plant management and maintenance, saying the plants were in optimum working condition.
“There are also issues with water theft, especially in areas like Kinarut and Papar,” he said.
Thousands of consumers have been affected by water disruptions since the beginning of this year. In some areas, water supply has been cut for as long as one week.
In Papar near the Tobobon water plant, residents complained that their plea to the department for clean water had fallen on deaf ears.
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) vice-president Johnny Mositun said residents in one of the villages claimed the department had promised to send them water.
“They waited the whole day for the water trucks to arrive but nothing happened,” he told FMT.
Mositun said the villagers claimed they were not notified about the disruptions and many were forced to take leave from work so they could make alternative arrangements for clean water.
Amarjit denied this, saying the department had issued notices of water disruptions as work to repair the burst pipes had to be carried out immediately.
Among the burst pipes undergoing repairs was one in the Telipok area of greater Kota Kinabalu, he said.
Amarjit said he may have to lodge a second police report if there were further incidents as they could be due to sabotage by certain quarters.
Last year, a day after announcing the termination of 58 concessions for water treatment, the department was faced with several burst pipes and water valves in Kota Kinabalu, forcing him to lodge a police report.