1Borneo: State Govt urged to step in
Tenants operating at 1Borneo Hypermall urged the State Government to step in after Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) supposedly shut off their electricity supply for the second time in a month.
A shoplot tenant known as Song said only the air-conditioning system was not turned on at about 9am, leaving the lighting system, escalators, and elevators fully functional.
Despite leaving the rest fully operating, he said it would still affect business operations as customers and staff are left uncomfortable due to the unventilated environment.
He explained that they have been paying their electricity bills to the management team on time but were left baffled when a notice released by SESB indicated that their electricity supply would be disconnected due to outstanding fees.
"We know that the Government is not willing to intervene. But shouldn't they come and help us?
Especially when it's going to destroy not only our businesses but potential tourist attractions here as well," he said, during a meeting with the shop tenants at 1Borneo Hypermall, here, Wednesday.
Other tenants of the mall expressed outrage that they would not be able to run their businesses as usual as well as urging the State Government to intervene by assisting them in handling the issue.
"This is unfair! All of us (tenants) have been paying our bills on time and now our business are going to plunge, so we hope that the Government will assist as we all have put our faith in the new (Warisan-led State) government," he said.
Dubbed as the biggest shopping mall in Borneo, shoplot owner Johnny Chia said 1Borneo comprises not only the shopping mall itself, but successful hotels, vehicle showrooms and several other shops which attracted countless foreign tourists.
"Even though this place seemed like it's becoming a failed shopping mall, about 40 Chinese investors have already purchased shoplots with a plan that they are able to attract even more customers.
"We have the confidence that we can turn this place into one of the best shopping malls in Borneo again," he said.
Meanwhile, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee said with a large amount of people, businesses, employees and public being affected as well as the damage to the State's image, 1Borneo management's debt is no longer a "private issue".
"This is now a public interest matter that warrants the intervention of the Government.
The problem is both urgent and serious," he said.
On June 27, it was reported that SESB had cut off the electricity supply to the air-conditioning system in the morning, but was reconnected by noon after the mall's management had paid RM700,000 as an initial payment of the outstanding RM9.3 million.
On the same day, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal stated that the State Government would not intervene with the electricity bill problem between SESB and 1Borneo Hypermall, saying it is "not a government matter".
He said both parties should discuss and reach an amicable solution without involving the State Government as it is clearly a business matter. - Locksley Ng