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Even streetlights are now affected
Published on: Sunday, February 16, 2020
By: Oliver Voon
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KOTA KINABALU: Rampant electricity thefts by squatters in Putatan and Manggatal are posing a danger to lives and properties in both places. No longer are the effects confined to the areas where these squatters reside.

Even streetlights are now affected and may contribute to road deaths if not already and left unaddressed by the authorities concerned.

The Putatan District Council told Daily Express it is facing an uphill task safeguarding the underground cable that supplies electricity to streetlights along Jalan Putatan to Jalan Tun Hussien Onn in Lok Kawi. 

“We are using overhead cables to connect power to the streetlights as a temporary solution while deciding on a better way to tackle this,” its spokesman said. 

He said rampant cable theft in the vicinity of Kg Meruntum in Lok Kawi caused all the facilities on that main road to be inoperative for several months. 

“We are aware of the danger experienced by road users because of the darkness that shrouded the newly upgraded stretch at night.

“In fact, we carried out surveillance at several key areas in that place every night in the past but to no avail,” he said, adding that several police reports were lodged as well. He said the affected streetlights were reactivated after the installation of an overhead cable was carried out on Feb. 5. 

“We will continue to run spot checks in that area but we cannot guarantee it won’t happen again (cable theft) in future,” he added. 

Motorists were curious why the streetlights along that coastal road had stopped functioning for at least half a year. 

“Only the lamp posts in front of the army camp are functioning,” one of them said, adding he had witnessed many accidents at this unlit stretch which were not highlighted in the papers. 

“Among those involved in the accidents were pedestrians jaywalking the road, blurred vision when driving in the rain and accidents involving senior citizens who were behind wheel.

“I’m sure the number of accidents and even fatalities on this road will go down when the streetlights are functioning without fail,” he said.

In MANGGATAL, rampant power theft in Perumahan Contoh Suang Parai which claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy recently is a wake-up call to the authorities on the issue of squatter colonies and its implications on the local people.  A resident said the issue about frequent blackouts in their housing estate became worse since the middle of last year, where it usually tripped for more than an hour almost daily. The residential area is a stone’s throw from a squatter colony. 

“While we fear having to buy a replacement for each electrical appliance that becomes faulty due to the problem, we also facing a real danger of getting electrocuted,” said Raz, who spoke on behalf of the residents there. 

 


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