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Call for action against squatters near UMS
Published on: Saturday, January 20, 2024
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Call for action against squatters near UMS
“Even though the State Public Works Ministry has assured that the UMS’ water problem will be resolved after the Telibong Water Treatment Plant 2 is completed by the end of this month, UMS will still be experiencing low water pressure due to the illegal connections,
Kota Kinabalu: Firm action should be taken against the squatters around Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) who contributed to the institution’s water woes, said Sabah Housing and Town Development Board (LPPB) Chairman Datuk Masing Banah. 

He said the water supply problem in UMS would continue if the squatters’ massive illegal connections persist.

According to him, residents of LPPB-owned low-cost flats in Taman Jaya Diri, Bukit Setia in Sepanggar and Taman Sri Warisan, Inanam Laut have complained of water disruptions due to low pressure.

“Even though the State Public Works Ministry has assured that the UMS’ water problem will be resolved after the Telibong Water Treatment Plant 2 is completed by the end of this month, UMS will still be experiencing low water pressure due to the illegal connections. The MyJans initiative introduced by the Government will not change the situation much as the squatters, especially immigrants, are used to receiving free water and power supplies from illegal connections.”

The Sabah Water Department has recently launched the MyJans application for consumers to access water supply online.

While it is a good initiative, Masiung said illegal connections would prevail.

Masiung, who is also Kuamut Assemblyman, urged the relevant agencies to conduct a major enforcement operation in squatter and factory areas.

Recently, UMS Board of Directors Chairman Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the existence of about 12,000 squatter homes is believed to be contributing to the UMS water problem.

The State Government suffered a loss of 18 million litres of water daily due to illegal connections.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir was recently greeted at UMS during his visit by students complaining about the water problem in the university.

Following that, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called for a report on the problem at UMS despite the approval of RM3 million last year to resolve the issue.

In response, UMS Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kasim Md Mansur was reported as saying that the allocation is being used to erect six tube wells to tap underground water and install a new piping system.

Over a decade ago, in 2010, it was reported that City Hall (DBKK) envisioned a squatter-free city by 2015.

To achieve the goal, it was reported that DBKK had formulated strategies to rid the city of squatters, which also involved the housing industry and state government agencies.

In December last year, it was reported that the Local Government and Housing Ministry is currently drafting a framework to coordinate efforts in managing squatters in Sabah, which has been prepared before.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Joachim Gunsalam, who is also Deputy Chief Minister II, was reported as saying that the Special Committee and Technical Committee has held a series of meetings and discussions to address the issue.

A clearer management plan includes a “lock figure”, an action plan and a timeline for the squatter management will be finalised and presented to the State Cabinet for approval.

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