By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Oct 18: Disputes between residents and the authorities over the building of a telecommunication tower at their housing area is a never-ending issue that has affected many.
While some were able to force the authorities to look elsewhere for the tower site, some were not quite successful in their protest.
The residents of Taman Supreme at Jalan Nyatoh here are among those who had to admit defeat and are now living under a telecommunication tower in the middle of their housing estate.
“We managed to collect about 100 signatories in our petition for the tower not to be built so close to our houses, but they went ahead with the project anyway. Now we have to live with it,” said a resident, whose house is located just across the road from the tower.
The tower was erected in March last year. Now, some 20 months later, residents are faced with a new problem — the noise and air pollution emitting from the facility.
“The noise from the cooling system is 24 hours a day, and it can be a quite obvious and a nuisance, especially in the middle of the night.
“There is also a burning smell coming from the cooling cabinet: It must be the excessive heat. These problems started about two weeks ago,” claimed the resident, who declined to be named.
Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong visited the site of the telecommunication tower today and called on the authority to rectify the noise and air pollution problem.
She has brought the issue up with Sacofa Sdn Bhd, which owned the tower. A few telecommunication providers are said to be renting the tower.
“I have brought the issue to the attention of Sacofa, hoping that something can be done to minimise the noise and solve the problem altogether,” she said.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) lawmaker urged Sacofa, the Sarawak Multimedia Authority and contractors to not build telecommunication towers so close to housing areas in future.
“Please don’t build towers near houses in the middle of residential areas. Do respect and listen to the voice of the local residents. This is not fair to them.
“We are not against the erection of telco towers but please do it properly. Find a suitable site. This is the first site that I have received such a complaint in my constituency. The nearest house is situated some 15 metres from this infrastructure,” she pointed out.
With regards to the locality of telecommunication towers, Yong cited a few cases, including one in Bintawa, where the residents had successfully petitioned for the relocation of the project site.
“In future, we hope the authorities planned their telco tower site properly and get feedback from local residents before embarking on their projects,” she continued. — DayakDaily