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Cable thefts cut phone services
01/01/2007 The Star

RESIDENTS living near the International Islamic University Malaysia in Gombak have been experiencing regular disruptions to their phone and Internet services for the last two years and many suspect that phone cables were stolen by thieves looking for copper.

A recent check of the area between the 10th and 12th mile of Jalan Gombak showed that the cables aligned along the road had been repaired and replaced.

There were signs of disjointed cables and cable wrappers have been found on the roadside.

Left dangling: A damaged phone cable along Jalan Gombak.

Dr Mohd Shafeeq, who lives in University Apartments at the 11th mile of Jalan Gombak, said in December alone the residents experienced three disruptions – from Dec 8 to 15, Dec 17 to 19 and Dec 22 to 27.

He said although phone service provider TM had responded to his complaints whenever there was a breakdown and restored services within a few days, repair works should be done quickly.

“The phone service was down on Dec 22 and TM personnel had it restored the following day. But the next morning, the service was disrupted again until 4.30pm on Dec 27,” he said.

He said he had written to the customer service personnel who told him that the company was appointing a contractor to lay underground phone cables for a stretch of about 600m along Jalan Gombak.

It is learnt that TM had laid about 150m underground cables and spent a lot of money on the replacement of cables that were apparently stolen in the wee hours.

Dr Mohd urged the Public Works Department and local authorities to install streetlights along the road to deter theft of cables.

Rugayah Johari, 61, said it was inconvenient for her to use her mobile phone to make a call.

“The phone service is always down even though we have been paying the bills monthly. Sometimes, the breakdown will last for 10 days before it was fixed but it will happen again two days later.

“We have not experienced this in the past but it has been getting worse in the past two years,” she said.

Prof Dr Torla Hassan said his family could not use their phone and Internet services to contact students and university staff overseas.

Nurse Sadiya Subaidi, who works at the Orang Asli Affairs Department Hospital, said the hospital management was told that the breakdowns were caused by frequent theft of phone cables in the area.

“In 2006, the hospital experienced two breakdowns of its phone services. They lasted for about a week and only the internal phone service worked during that period.

“There have been instances when patients could not reach us and had to contact the police who in turn conveyed the information to us,” she said.

Khairuddin Razak said phone cables were stolen and the service provider had been replacing the cables frequently.

“We could not use the Internet service for a long time. It has been frustrating,” he said.

When contacted, a TM spokesman said the company was investigating the matter and would take actions to address the problem.


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