The Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Bung Moktar Radin has proposed a prepaid water supply system for squatter settlements amid the rampant water theft in the state that has resulted in losses amounting to RM180mil.
“There will be no more excuses for the residents in such areas to break the pipes and steal water,” he said.
“Otherwise, it won’t be sustainable for the state water department, business-wise, as 60% of revenue is lost due to water theft,” he added.
According to The Star, Bung said he had asked the Sabah Water Department to work out a prepaid system so that people in squatter colonies could have access to water without having to steal it through illegal connections.
When asked if the state government considered imposing heavier penalties on water and electricity thieves, Bung said the authorities are carrying out a series of operations to disconnect illegal pipelines to the squatters.
The Water Department and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd are not allowed to provide services to any housing area that is not gazetted by the state government as a residential, business premises or village.
Similarly, Bung said the Sabah Electricity is considering the idea of using prepaid meters to overcome the problem of rampant power theft.
Bung, who is the state’s Public Works Minister, said many locals were also living in squatter colonies.
“It’s difficult to say whether we can or cannot supply water to squatters,” he added.
In a recent crackdown on water theft, the Sabah Water Department Edward Lingkapo said most illegal connections were in squatter areas and on state reserve land.
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