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Vandals to blame for Sandakan streetlight woes
Published on: Tuesday, December 12, 2023
By: Sidney Skinner
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Vandals to blame for Sandakan streetlight woes
A Council wire-man checks on the condition of the mechanisms inside this streetlight control panel (left) and One of the Department’s technicians in the midst of attending to wiring for a faulty streetlight.
THE Municipal Council is facing an uphill task dealing with the rampant vandalism of its streetlights around Sandakan, particularly the underground power lines connected to these facilities

A spokesman for the agency said vandals frequently dug up the cables in an attempt to make away with any which were made of copper.

“To make matters worse, once new ones are put in place, they get cut – or go missing altogether – after a few days,” he said.  

“We have called on our staff to be more mindful of any funny business involving our streetlights.

“Nevertheless, this may prove exceedingly difficult to do. Given the extensiveness of our rating area, it would be impossible for our personnel to be everywhere at once to catch the culprits.”

The Council and SESB worked together to restore the public lighting on this stretch.

He explained that the Council’s jurisdiction ranged from the Batu Sapi area and the town to Mile 8 and the Gum-Gum area. 

The spokesman hoped the public would inform the agency directly if they witnessed the streetlights being vandalised.

He said this would allow the agency to deal with these problems accordingly. 

Anyone “caught red-handed” interfering with or damaging the lights, and the mechanisms associated with these amenities, would be handed over to the Police, according to him.

“We have also called on our personnel to make us aware of any unlit sections around Sandakan.”

He said maintenance was carried out on those lights under its jurisdiction as and when it warranted.

“We have two crews on the ground, comprising two wire-men and two assistant wire-men each. They share a double-cab and sky-lift between them.”

The spokesman was responding to concerns about the safety hazards which drivers faced at night because of the lack of illumination along Jalan Politeknik at Mile 10 and Jalan BDC at Mile 3.

He estimated that there were about 102 lights along a 2.4 kilometre span of the former road and 60 of these amenities on the 500 metre span of the latter.

“The Council is in the process of putting together a proposal to replace the damaged components for the lights on Jalan Politeknik.

“A meeting for this purpose was held earlier this month.”

He said a “BQ (Bill of Quantities)” would be prepared once the agency had ironed out all the details.

“Once we have secured the necessary funding, a tender will called so that a contractor can be appointed to carry out the repairs.

“We tentatively hope to have the lights operational by the first quarter of next year.”

In the case of Jalan BDC, he said the Council worked together with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd to restore the lights on the stretch.

“Since they came back on, our electrical team has been making periodic checks of the control panel to ensure that the road is properly lit.”  

DIN of Sandakan bemoaned the dangers which drivers and pedestrians experienced in using Jalan Politeknik and Jalan BDC, as well as the main road at Mile 7

between a mosque and the roundabout near the town’s courthouse, after dark.

“I know of an elderly motorist who lost control of his car and drove onto the verge after passing a roundabout on Jalan Politeknik on a recent weekday night,” he said.

“He couldn’t make out where he was supposed to go because it was pitch black.”

He said another friend of his almost ran over a pedestrian who was trying to cross the road near the courthouse.

“I hope the relevant authorities intervene to restore the public lighting in these areas before anyone comes to harm.”

His grievance was forwarded to the Council and Public Works Department.

A Department spokesman said a distance of 750 metres separated the Pengiran Galpam Mosque and the roundabout near the Sandakan Courthouse, with three of its streetlights set up between the two properties.

He said a check carried out shortly after the agency was contacted by the media, revealed that none of these amenities were functional.

“We intend to have these amenities, as well as those on Jalan Labuk, changed to those of a solar variety,” he said.

“New poles, control panels and meters will be put in place as part of our overhaul of the public lighting system on these federal roads.”

He said the Department’s Sandakan branch had submitted a report to this affect to its headquarters in Kota Kinabalu, in the hopes of securing an allocation to realise its plans in 2024.

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