KOTA KINABALU: Power and water supply are legacy issues that Warisan had failed miserably to deal with when in government.
And the opposition were now singing from a busted song sheet in criticising Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor’s best efforts to resolve the problems.
“Did Warisan resolve the issue when in power? No! Therefore it is outrageous and ridiculous to criticise the Chief Minister and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government.
“The Chief Minister is doing his level best to address the situation,” said STAR vice president Kenny Chua today.
The former Inanam Assemblyman said the problems had not just surfaced but had been extant for a very long time.
“Don’t turn it into a political issue just to gain support. If you are confident, prove it at the next election,” he added.
Kenny also revealed that during his tenure as the elected representative for Inanam (2018-2020), he had to fork out substantially from his Assemblyman development fund to come up with short-term solution to the water problem, especially in Telipok and Menggatal.
And, according to him, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal who was the Chief Minister at that time, did not give much focus to the water problem.
“In addition, he (Shafie) even appointed Amarjit Singh as the State Water Department director,” Kenny said, claiming that this had worsened the situation.
Amarjit’s appointment at the time was highly criticised as he had no civil service background. Furthermore, his appointment was primarily thanks to his position as a Warisan leader.
Meanwhile, a Parti Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (PGRS) divisional leader stressed that the present government inherited the problem but was now making sure it would be resolved as soon as possible.
Tandek PGRS chief Datuk Dr Janathan Kandok said the people would not be misled into thinking that power and water issues surfaced only after the last state election.
He also said the opposition resorted to finger-pointing and played the blame game over these issues “but we all know that empty vessels make the most noise”.
“It is common sense that when demand for electricity rises, production too has to increase and I am certain utility company Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) has drawn up plans to tackle the problem,” he said.
The Chief Minister had recently asked Sabahans to be patient over water and electricity supply issues, saying that the government was doing its best to address them.
And, he told critics not to blow the matter out of proportion.
Hajiji also said the GRS state government had sought federal government funding to resolve supply woes which the SESB has blamed on technical problems with high-voltage lines that triggered trips at power stations.
“The state government was not only taking steps to resolve water and electricity supply issues but was also creating contingency plans.
“We are serious in our efforts to attract investors to Sabah and both these amenities are crucial for investors,” he said.
And in Putrajaya last week, Hajiji briefed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sabah’s plans to address the water problem.
The Chief Minister also expressed confidence that the federal government’s RM320,250,000 aid to Sabah would expedite the state’s short-term plans to resolve the water woes.
They involved the implementation of six programmes encompassing 20 projects throughout the state including nine under districts plans for Kota Kinabalu city, Tuaran, Putatan, Papar, Beaufort, Keningau, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Sandakan.