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Contractors giving government bad image
Published on: Monday, February 26, 2024
By: Clarence Dol, Lagatah Toyos
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Contractors giving government bad image
James in a surprise visit to the Water Department intake in Botition Nangoh on Thursday.
Kota Kinabalu: Some negligent and irresponsible contractors are giving the Government a bad image, as evidenced by two recent cases involving water and electricity supply in Paitan, in Sandakan, and Tawau, respectively. 

“This is why we hear complaints from the people who blame the Chief Minister and the government, even though it is caused by negligence at the lower level or by the department concerned.

“It seems as if the Minister is not concerned about the people when the Minister is very concerned. However, if the Minister is the only one who works but the subordinates do not work, the contractor is not responsible, this is a big problem,” said Sabah Community Development and People’s Well-being Minister (KPMKR) Datuk James Ratib.

He said tap water supply is often cut off in Paitan where in one month residents get supply of clean water only for less than 20 days.

“The Water Department must solve this problem fast. It is up to the Department which contractor to appoint, but the contractor must be of calibre and be able to act quickly,” he said.

He said going down to the ground and visiting the Nangoh Botition Water Department plant provided the answers.

“One of the problems was that the contractor appointed by the Water Department was slow to replace the damaged pump.

“There are four water pumps but three of them have been damaged and only one pump is working,” he said.

James, who is also the Sugut Assemblyman, said it had been almost a year since the plant superintendent asked the contractor, but either the contractor or the Water Department did not bother about what the people were going through daily.

“If that one (remaining) pump also ends up being damaged, approximately 10,000 users in 15 villages will not receive any clean water supply (and blame the government). Another thing we found out is there are two generators and again only one is working. If both are broken, how can this plant work?”

He also said every time there was a flood, garbage would enter the intake and the plant workers have to ask the villagers for help to clean the clogged intake.

“The Water Department should appoint a special contractor to clean the intake and also the pumps so no more such problems will arise,” he said.

James, who is also Sabah State Health Exco, said the problem plaguing consumers throughout Sabah is that when it rains or floods, the water supply would be cut off.

“During the flood season, the turbidity of the water exceeds the level of 1,500 NTU, and when this happens, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (KKM) does not allow treating the water.

“Therefore we ask the Ministry of Health to find a mechanism for how water that exceeds 1,500 NTU can be treated by the Water Department, in addition to going to the field to inspect water plants throughout the state,” he said.

James said contractors appointed by the Water Department must be attentive and take quick action to fulfil what the water plant authorities requested.

“Another thing noticed during the visit was that the plant is close to collapse. The Water Department needs to go down to the field regularly to monitor all these situations.

James said he would ensure water supply via tanks while waiting for the Department to act.

“We ask the government to increase the number of blue tanks in all rural areas in order to ease the problem of clean water supply among the population. 

“We also ask the ICU, the Federal side to supply more large tanks for the people in rural areas,” he said.

James also wanted Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) to install lights in the plant area so that workers can go about their work when there is a flood or any damage.

“SESB must take quick action and use their disaster allocations to supply electricity to this area, so that the people don’t blame the Minister.

In addition, the Water Department in Botition Nangoh was also asked to erect signs on the side of the road leading to the place in question which is located far from the forest area.

Madius during a visit to the PMU Apas site with Mohd Yaakob and MP Lo.

In TAWAU, the contractor implementing the RM106 million 132kV Apas Main Input Substation (PMU) construction project is 60 months behind schedule.

No reason was offered for the unacceptable delay. Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) CEO, Ir Ts Mohd Yaakob Jaafar, said the delay of more than 60 months resulted in his plan to have a new injection point in the district not being realised. 

However, he did not say whether the SESB was equally to blame for tolerating the situation, which was affecting the Government’s image.

He admitted that the new injection point is very important for the transmission network in Tawau because this system can guarantee the stability of electricity supply to users and is also in line with the Grid Code of Sabah and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

“SESB is also aware that the scenario where this incomplete n-1 system is very risky to the stability of electricity supply especially to 66,929 users around the Tawau district,” he said.

The project should have been scheduled for completion in November 2018 after starting in November 2016. “However, the contractor involved has still failed to complete the project according to the set period of 24 months.”

The construction of the Apas PMU is under the implementation of the Sabah Electricity Supply Special Project Team (PPKBES) and it  hoped the new scheduled completion date of June 2024 will become a reality.

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