CM: State govt takes own initiative to ensure rural folk enjoy electricity, water supply
Posted on : 21 Dec 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (third left) presenting the Best Works Vendor Award to a representative from SKB Engineering Sdn Bhd while witnessed by (from left) Lau, Abdul Hamed, Idris and Sharbini.

KUCHING (Dec 21): The Sarawak government decided to grab the bull by the horns when it saw how disadvantaged the rural folk were in terms of infrastructure development such as electricity and water supply, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the state could not rely solely on the federal government to develop its rural areas as some federal-appointed consultants were unaware of what infrastructure is needed by the rural people.

He recalled an incident during his visit to Telok Melano five years ago where the villagers there had informed him how the village was given a wind turbine but they do not have electricity supply.

“You know they installed this wind turbine in Telok Melano knowing very well there is no strong winds there, which I don’t quite understand.

“They also tried to supply a mini hydro but there is no water supply. This is the dilemma the rural folk are facing,” he said at the inaugural Sarawak Energy Vendor Appraisal Awards 2020 (Sevaa) held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here today.

He said the moment he was appointed as the Chief Minister of Sarawak, he decided to let Sarawak Energy manage this issue of electrifying the state’s rural areas.

“I have given a special budget of about RM2.3 billion for us to electrify our rural areas.

“It is from our own funds and there is no need for us to rely on Kuala Lumpur (federal government) so that those in rural areas are able to enjoy electricity supply particularly in longhouses, villages and rural schools,” he said.

He said though the federal government appointed their own consultants to oversee projects here, these consultants perhaps “never came and see what was actually happening on the spot.”

“They implemented hydro but there is no water. They implemented wind turbine at villages but there is no wind.

“That is the dilemma we faced so much so that the rural people were at a disadvantage and that led me to find funds to finance our rural projects.

“Thank God it has been done and we are going to do it further,” he said.

On Sevaa, Abang Johari said the inaugural awards was a timely event that can help to nurture Sarawak Energy’s contractors be it international or local contractors for them to offer services that is of standard with affordable costs and quality to the state-owned utility company.

He also called on Sarawak Energy contractors and vendors to have equal responsibility and accountability to the state’s energy sector.

“When something happens, consumers won’t mention the vendor but they will say it’s Sarawak Energy. Therefore, they will be affected if the contractors or vendors are not providing quality services and supply to Sarawak Energy,” he said.

He said in any business organisation, there must be an internal improvement where the company must retrain their staff from time to time; adapt to new technology; control cost without jeopardising quality and safety as well as the quality of officers.

“Once you become a vendor to Sarawak Energy, it sets a standard and you have to comply with their standards.

“So you must keep on upgrading yourself because the moment you have your quality, Sarawak Energy will continue giving jobs to you,” he said.

He said this is what is happening in Baleh where the state is currently constructing its Baleh Dam.

“We have international vendors and there are sizeable jobs given to locals as well.

“If the international vendors can deliver but the locals cannot supply to the main core contractor, this may affect the delivery of services to Sarawak Energy,” he said.

He also touched on the ongoing capital works of projects in Baleh that had given opportunities for local people to participate.

“Based on the ongoing capital works to date, the total amount of local content was done for Baleh hydroelectric project is approximately RM34.1 million, transmission line project is RM66.9 million, transmission substation is RM37.8 million and thermal project about RM1.2 million,” he said.

Abang Johari later presented awards to contractors and vendors of Sarawak Energy which saw Bituah Enterprise, SKB Engineering Sdn Bhd, EPC Synergy Sdn Bhd and Ecogreen Solar Engineering Sdn Bhd awarded the Best Works Vendor Award; and Pertama Printech, PC Image Sdn Bhd and Buruuj Engineering Sdn Bhd awarded the Best Supplier Award.

Other awards that were presented included the Best Service Provider Award which went to Sin Yii Transport Agencies, Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd, Tai Thong Engineering Sdn Bhd; Best Local Consultant Award which was awarded to Henry Foong Engineering, Utas Kasturi Sdn Bhd, Perunding Dynatech Sdn Bhd; Best Bumiputera Vendor which went to Utas Kasturi Sdn Bhd; and the Promising Bumiputera Vendor Award which was awarded to Buruuj Engineering Sdn Bhd.

Also present were Sarawak Energy chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi, Muara Tuang assemblyman Dato Idris Buang, Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili, and Syarikat Sesco Berhad chief executive officer Lau Kim Swee.