By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 24: DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen has this morning obtained a court-ordered temporary injunction against Sesco from disconnecting the electricity supply to a house of an elderly woman whose illness requires the support of electricity operated medical equipment following a dispute over an alleged outstanding payment amounting to RM34,000.
According to Chong, Sesco has demanded that the woman settle the outstanding payment on or before Sept 25, pending which the utility company will disconnect the electricity supply to her home.
On the large sum of outstanding payment, he explained that in 2016 the owner was suddenly slapped with a bill of RM43,000 following changes of electricity metres at her house three times in 2011, 2013 and 2015 without any notice to the owner, as well as alleged electricity theft.
“The owner was not informed of the outcome of the three changes until 2016 when Sesco, through three letters, claimed that they still owe RM43,000. The owner through her son had negotiated and protested the matter with Sesco as a medical condition prevented her from being physically present to attend to the issue.
“After rounds of negotiations, in 2017, there was sort of an agreement (reached) and the owner paid about RM9,000 in full and final settlement of the claim as the owner did not want to enter into a lengthy argument with Sesco.
“Following that, Sesco did not bother them for two years. In 2019, Sesco came back to say they still owed RM34,000 and demanded payment. The owner was shocked,” he said in a press conference held via Zoom today.
Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, added that although further discussions on the matter were held, Sesco still insisted that the owner must pay.
Two weeks ago, the woman’s son then sought help from Chong who then filed an action in court on Sept 21 for declaration that Sesco is not entitled to the RM34,000 claim against the owner.
Chong informed that he also wrote to Sesco to inform them that the matter has been brought to court and called for Sesco to withhold any action to disconnect electricity supply until the court has come out with a decision as to whether the owner should pay or not.
“We also informed Sesco that the house owner is suffering from illnesses that require medical equipment to help her and any disconnection of electricity may put her life in danger.
“To my surprise, Sesco in a reply on Sept 22 said that they are going to disconnect unless a court order is obtained. They did not care that the disconnection would jeopardise the life of the house owner.
“That is too much. So we rushed to get the papers ready and filed the action yesterday and got the court hearing as well as a court injunction to stop Sesco for the next two weeks,” he said.
The next hearing has been set on Oct 8 in which both parties and their legal representatives will argue the matter before the court.
Chong, who is also Stampin MP, termed Sesco’s actions as “inconsiderate and inhumane”, and for chasing after payment when the owner has grounds to dispute it.
“Now that the matter is in court, it has to be left for the court to decide. If the court decides in favour of the owner, Sesco has no right to claim the payment,” he added. — DayakDaily