Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad (second from left) inspecting Sungai Intan in Semporna yesterday. PIC BY EDMUND SAMUNTING

SEMPORNA: For 30 years, villagers of Kampung Sungai Intan in Segarong here have been digging wells for water.

They rely on groundwater as no clean water has been channelled to the village despite the completion of the Sungai Intan water treatment plant two years ago.

Village steering committee member Yusrie Yusup told New Straits Times a water well could sustain up to three households.

“This is our only water source for cooking, drinking and bathing. If we want clean water, we have to buy. The water treatment plant is supposed to supply clean water to our village, but there is no piping.”

He said the wells were about 3m deep.

There are seven villages in the Segarong area, surrounded by oil palm trees.

The water treatment plant, which has a water production capacity of six million litres a day, would have benefited more than 4,000 villagers.

Yusrie said certain villages, such as Kampung Kubang, Kampung Bugaya, Kampung Sakong and Kampung Tagasan, received clean water supply, but only twice a week.

Saripudin Ali Osman, 53, of Kampung Sungai Intan, said he spent RM80 for 500 litres of clean water.

“It can last for a week. Imagine not getting clean water supply for almost 30 years. Why build a water treatment plant when it cannot do what it is supposed to do?”

Saripudin claimed he was present when Semporna member of parliament Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who was then rural and regional development minister, visited the water treatment plant two years ago.

Housewife Norhimah Amir Hasan, 62, of Kampung Seraya, said treated water was also hard to come by at the town area here.

“We would get clean water only twice a week. We have to store water for other days.”

The Sungai Intan water treatment plant is among the projects being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over the mishandling of federal funds amounting to RM1.5 billion meant for rural development in Sabah.

The RM45 million plant is about 50-minute drive from Tawau Airport and about 30-minute drive from town. 

The Segarong area has electricity supply, and the roads leading to the villages and the plant are tarred.

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