Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Massive and extensive POWER FAILURE in many parts of Sabah


A massive and extensive power blackout hit various parts of Sabah last night - the worst affected being the State Capital City, where activities slowed or stood still and businesses including shops, malls, restaurants, bars and night clubs were disrupted. The extensive and virtual statewide power failure was reported in almost all major towns and districts in both East and West Coast areas. The Borneo Post’s contacts in Tamparuli, Ranau, Inanam, Likas, Penampang, Menggatal, Keningau, Sandakan, and Tawau all confirmed the blackout in their areas, with residents voicing frustrations and anger over the situation, one of the worst power failures in years. In Kota Kinabalu, the power cut occurred shortly before 7pm and continued for hours, while in some areas like Penampang, the power was restored around 8pm. Traffic flows in the State Capital were affected with vehicles moving bumper to bumper in dark streets. With traffic lights down at main intersections, the congestions worsened with impatient and discourteous motorists honking at one another and compounding the situation. City Police Traffic and Public Order Chief DSP M Chandra when contacted informed that Police personnel were dispatched and deployed to help control traffic flows in and around the City. Along pedestrian walkways, tourists and visitors alike were seen straining and struggling for directions. ATM machines and many chain stores, including 7-Eleven, were closed as their servers were also down. Those at homes complained of missing their favourite TV shows while children’s school work could not be done effectively. “SESB has to be made accountable to this incessant problem of power failures in the history of Sabah... for decades, the officials had got away scot-free for the inability and failure to ensure a satisfactory supply of electricity. When is this unacceptable situation going to end,” said a resident of 28 years in a Kota Kinabalu’s suburb. Another resident said: “Heads at SESB must roll to placate the great amount of public dissatisfaction at this state of essential utility. How long is the Sabah public to tolerate such inefficiency.” Several restaurants, unless they had their own power back ups, either closed early or took advantage of the darkness to set a romantic candlelight dinner mood in their outlets. Some eateries even said they have a much better business with seats all taken by diners who opt to have their meals in semi-darkness while waiting for the traffic congestions to ease. Upon being informed about the incident, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman who was in Kuala Lumpur attending the rulers conference immediately contacted SESB General Manager to find out the source of the power failure. “He was made to understand that it was caused by a power drag at the IPP Plant in Sepanggar Bay,” said his Press Secretary Afeiza Khan. Musa who was briefed and updated on the progress of restoration measures throughout the evening directed the power company to rectify the problem as soon as possible to avoid further inconvenience to the people. He said he was closely monitoring the situation.