CM: RM2.8b to solve water woes in rural areas

Posted on : 11 Oct 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (third right) places his palm on a tablet to symbolically open the 4th Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibition and Conference 2018 while (from left) Abdul Kadir, Alice, Dr Rundi, Liwan and Dr Abdul Rahman look on. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi


KUCHING: The Sarawak government is allocating RM2.8 billion to address water woes in rural areas within the next two years.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the allocation is for the first phase of the Sarawak Water Supply Grid Programme and will be used to develop infrastructure in stressed areas.

“I’ve previously announced this allocation but now we are increasing the allocation to RM2.8 billion.

“I want to focus on effectively resolving water supply issues particularly in stressed areas of our rural population. This allocation is not a loan…just wait for my budget speech (in the coming State Legislative Assembly sitting),” he told reporters when met after officiating at the 4th Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibition and Conference 2018 at a leading hotel here yesterday.

Abang Johari (centre) takes a closer look at tanks on display at the 4th Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibition. Also with him is Dr Rundi (left). — Photo by Tan Song Wei


Earlier in his speech, Abang Johari said a total of 247 projects had been identified to be implemented, and expected to be completed by 2020.

“The 247 projects will include treatment water plants, distribution network systems, improvement works, pipe replacement, non-revenue water management, modernisation initiatives and Sarawak Alternative Rural Water Supply (Sawas).

“I hope these projects can be completed within the next two years and after that we want to extend to build the state water grid which will be the second phase of the Sarawak Water Supply Grid Programme.”

He thus called on implementers of the projects such as contractors, suppliers and engineers to do their best in ensuring that the projects are completed within the specified time frame.

“The contractors must be able to know the latest technology and they must do their job and not subcontract them to others, whereas for suppliers I have decided that priority be given to Sarawakian companies first but they must ensure that they develop quality pipes.

“Whatever the time frame given, you must fulfil your duties and the whole Sarawak must be delivered with good water within the next two years,” he said.

On another matter, Abang Johari, who had just returned from his four-day study visit to Canada, said the Sarawak government was also planning to send students to undergo postgraduate studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

“After visiting the University of Waterloo, I’m intending to send students there to do postgraduate courses so they can do research as a project for Sarawak.

“This is so that we can learn how to maximise our water resources not only for consumption but also for the future.”

Also present at the opening ceremony were Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Assistant Minister of Water Supply Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Rural Electricity Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Ministry of Utilities permanent secretary Dato Alice Jawan, Rural Water Supply Department
(JBALB) director Chang Kuet Shian and Malaysian Water Association president Datuk Abdul Kadir Mohd Din.