‘S’wak must tap potentials of lakes properly’

Posted on : 04 Oct 2018  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (third left) presenting a souvenir to Jones during the courtesy call on her.


KUCHING: Sarawak has to exploit the potentials of man-made lakes in the state in an orderly manner so as to create more economic benefits for the people.


At the moment man-made lakes are created just for power generation.


Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this on Tuesday at Toronto, the capital of the province of Ontario, Canada.


Citing Ontario’s especially strong experience in the management and development of water bodies, he said it is the country to learn from in Sarawak’s plan to turn its hydro dams into other economic assets.


The Chief Minister pointed this out in his discussion with Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Sylvia Jones, during his delegation’s courtesy call on the former at her office at the provincial legislative building in Toronto.


Abang Johari is currently leading a delegation consisting of ministers and key government officials for a five-day study tour to Ontario, according to the Chief Minister’s Office press statement yesterday.


“Sarawak government would be seeking to develop a close collaboration with the Ontario provincial government in order to learn from the province’s wealth of experience in managing fresh water bodies, particularly the Great Lakes and hydro dams,” he said.


The Chief Minister also expressed the intention of the Sarawak government to send state officials to Ontario to study closely various relevant aspects of water management such as water policy, water legislation, scientific research, lakes development and environmental enforcement and compliance.


Sarawak is also drafting a law to regulate the use and govern the development of the man-made lakes in the state which would provide for a body to be instituted to enforce the law with Canada’s standards to benchmark upon, he said.


“The body which would probably be called Lake Development Authority shall ensure that our lakes are properly managed and developed,” he said.


The Sarawak delegation in Ontario was also taken on a tour of the legislative building where parliament was in session.


Meanwhile, another group visited the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) headquarters in Toronto where they were briefed, among others, on Ontario’s electricity system and OPG’s indigenous relations.


The delegates were guests at the provincial Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to share in Ontario’s experience in the development of tourism, sport and culture.


On top of that, the Sarawak delegation visited the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks where they were given an overview of the various aspects of Ontario’s water policy and also taken on a tour of University of Waterloo’s Water Institute about two hours’ drive from Toronto where they given insights into various aspects of water-related researches at the institute.


Key members in the delegation were the Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani; Assistant Minister of Water Supplies Datuk Liwan Lagang; Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh; Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi and key officials of various relevant government agencies.


The delegation is also planning to visit Sir Adam Beck Hydro Electric Plant, south of Toronto near the Niagara Falls today (Thursday).