What a wasted chance to address the water crisis before the PRN!

By Remy Majangkim, MA63, Activist, Tutor, and Historian


KOTA KINABALU: A few months ago, I penned an opinion piece on the University Malaysia Sabah’s severe water disruption, urged by my niece.

It is unacceptable that she and her fellow students struggle to focus on their studies and yet are without basic running water in their campus residence.

This problem has been occurring for many months. As the Prime Minister visited the campus, he allocated emergency funds of RM3 million for the water borehole project on campus.

This has alleviated the burden on UMS staff and students alike.
However, it was slow progress, marred with controversy over the handling of such funds.

The students again highlighted the lack of immediate remedy for the campus water crisis during the Minister of Higher Education’s visit. They were bewildered and questioned about whether the UMS staff also faced similar water supply issues.

As weeks turn into months, the problem persists and ultimately affects the student’s concentration in their studies and fulfilment of their basic needs.

The peak reaches its zenith with a student demonstration demanding state intervention and a memorandum to be sent to the Chief Minister of Sabah.

Civil rights activists and the public were appalled by how the matter was handled before and during the student demonstration.

The police insist that students apply for a police permit. “Previously, under Section 27 of the Police Act, citizens had to apply for a police permit for gatherings or processions of more than three people.”

Now with the new Assembly Act provided by Malaysia Bar, says and quotes:
“Under the new Act, there is no requirement for a police permit, but organisers of assemblies must notify the authorities 10 days in advance under Section 9(1). No notice is required for meetings in designated places or if the assembly is exempt.”

“If, in response to a notification, the police do nothing, then under Section 14(2), silence is deemed consent.”

So protesters are exercising their rights in a democratic country and the right to protest for their injustice.

In other news portals, it was reported that the group demanded handling the memorandum for the Chief Minister, but Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya came out to receive the memorandum on behalf of the CM, but the group refused.

Then, the group was told that the Chief Minister would come and visit them next week.

The Deputy Chief Minister further cited that this demonstration was politically motivated.

Nine people were arrested for not having their identity cards and for being impaired by various allegations of misconduct by the authorities.

The water crisis that is affecting the state capital and surrounding areas needs to be addressed quickly and effectively.

The election year is just around the corner, and members of the State Assembly are elected to manage our state and resources to the best of their ability.

They missed the opportunity to handle the crisis like bosses and secure their position in the next state election.

Related Articles


Latest Articles