Sarawak records 45 cases of cable theft in first quarter

Written by Nurfarahin Oki & James Wong

Kuching: Sarawak saw a notable increase in cable theft incidents in the first quarter of 2024, increasing to 45 incidents compared to 27 incidents in the same period last year, an increase of 67%.

Public Works and Telecommunications Minister Datuk Seri Juraihi Nalawi said there was a worrying trend of vandalism targeting public works and telecommunications assets in Sarawak.

“Commonly stolen items include feeder copper wire, connectors, cables, batteries, air conditioning units, and compressors.

“According to the police, the highest number of incidents were recorded in Kuching, Serian, Miri and Bintulu, especially those related to cables and street lighting cabinets. These thefts affect properties owned by SESCO and Sarawak Energy Berhad. as well as disrupting the services provided by Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation (SDEC) and Telekom Malaysia (TM).

“The law of supply and demand plays an important role here and we want to deal with this issue effectively,” he said.

He made these remarks at a press conference held at the Land Control and Development Authority (LCDA) Tower here today.

Commenting further, Mr Juraihi said that although the incidents occurred across Sarawak, most of the incidents occurred in the Kuching area.

He said losses amounted to about RM19.7 million in 2023 alone, a significant increase from RM3.8 million in 2022.

“The overall trend reflects an increase from 521 cases in 2022 to 1,406 cases in 2023, representing an increase of 170 percent, in various sectors such as telecommunications, water, electricity supply and gas supply. ” he said.

Mr. Juraich also acknowledged that one of the reasons for the increase in theft of telecommunications equipment could be due to rising steel prices.

“We understand that there is a high demand for these products, but we hope that they will be discontinued in the near future,” he said.

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