‘Be quick in addressing water-related issues’

Posted on : 17 Jan 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (fifth left) cuts a cake in conjunction with JBALB’s Appreciation Night, alongside (from left) Ik Pahon, Jaul, Alice, Chang, Dr Rundi, Dr Abdul Rahman, Liwan and Abu Bakar. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi has reminded the staff of the Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) to always be on their toes to address water issues that occur in the state.

He said it is now easy for people to express their dissatisfaction through social media, which is the easiest form of communication.

“For instance, if a consumer finds a bit of discoloration in their water, he or she can go on social media to express his or her feelings.

“Unlike those days where consumers do not have a channel they can easily access to complain, today if consumers experience water issue at their area, they can immediately post this on social media,” he said at JBALB’s Appreciation Night, here Wednesday which was graced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

This, said Dr Rundi, is one of the challenges JBALB has to face – the ability to address issues as soon as possible.

“There’s a unit in JBALB which focuses on customer service and I believe it is being run smoothly by JBALB staff in providing an explanation to the rakyat (people) on the problems in a particular area.

“When it comes to interruption of water supply or electricity supply, they are all the same in terms of scheduled and non-scheduled interruption. This gives us a lot of work and though we can never stop addressing them, what we can do is lessen the problems,” he said.

He also gave his assurance that the Utilities Ministry together with JBALB is fully committed to deliver the best service possible to the people.

Meanwhile, JBALB director Chang Kuet Shian said some of the issues faced by JBALB include aging and inefficiency of facilities; vast and difficult terrain of supply areas; unreliability of some water sources in terms of quality and quantity; manpower constraint; no real-time data of systems; high non-revenue water; and vandalism.

“In order to move JBALB services to the next level, four strategies have been formulated, namely to rebuild all aging assets through stressed areas or ‘Projek Rakyat’ from ground zero; strengthening of operation, standard operating procedure and human capital development; digitalisation of operation in terms of monitoring and asset management, data analytics and billing system; and implementation of water grid,” he said.

Chang also pointed out that the department’s road map shows that the main events happening this year are Phase 1 of JBALB’s Command Centre, smart water billing, project management and human resource dashboard, and corporate communication outreach, which are all digital in nature.

“Other major initiatives are the setting up of JBALB’s central store and enforcement branch,” he added.

Also present were Assistant Minister of Utilities (Water Supply) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Assistant Minister of Utilities (Rural Electricity) Datuk Liwan Lagang, Utilities Ministry permanent secretary Dato Alice Jawan, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Deputy State Secretary (Socio-Economic Transformation) Dato Sri Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki and Deputy State Secretary (Rural Transformation) Datu Ik Pahon Joyik.