PENAMPANG: It’s hard to miss the tall metal structure with four massive tanks on top by the road near Kampung Pogunon here, about 25km from Kota Kinabalu.
Below is another tank and a pump house that supposedly supplies water to the surrounding area. It seems to be in working order, judging by the sounds coming from the locked pump house in the messy and poorly maintained compound.
The structure was built four years ago under the Rural Clean Water Supply programme. A villager living nearby said he was not sure where the water supply was distributed to.
“I’ve been a registered consumer with the state Water Department for about 30 years and I know my supply comes from elsewhere.”
The department is in the spotlight following the arrests of four men, including its director and deputy director, by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) earlier this week.
A whopping RM115 million in cash and bank accounts were seized from them, along with 19.3kg of jewellery worth RM3.64 million, designer items worth half a million ringgit, luxury vehicles and 127 land titles.
MACC investigations point to the two officers manipulating the system to rake in millions, mostly from the RM3.3 billion worth of federal-funded projects to boost clean water supply in rural areas.
The programme was funded by the Rural and Regional Development Ministry and implemented by the state Water Department.
It is part of the Government Transformation Programme and National Key Results Areas, which focus on improving basic infrastructure, such as clean water supply, electricity and roads in rural areas.
A state Water Department employee said the four tanks were linked to pipes that ran through the area while the one below supplied water to Kampung Kipuovo, 2km away.
“In Kipuovo, there are probably three consumers who get their supply from the tank, while the rest depend on gravity water supply,” he said and pointed out that many source water from the tributaries of Sungai Moyog.
He said he had heard reports of shortcomings in villages in other districts that were supposed to benefit from the programme. “The pump house here is at least in working condition,” he said.
-New Straits Times