Sarawak to spend RM5.1b on water, electricity over two years, says state minister

Sarawak Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi (centre) speaks to reporters at the Sarawak State Assembly in Kuching May 7, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Sarawak Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi (centre) speaks to reporters at the Sarawak State Assembly in Kuching May 7, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, May 7 — Sarawak’s Ministry of Utilities has been allocated RM5.1 billion to carry out water and electricity supply projects over the next two years, its minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi said today.

He said the state government is committed to achieving maximum coverage for water and electricity supply by the year 2025.

Rundi said RM2.8 billion out of RM5.1 billion is allocated for the first phase of the Sarawak water supply grid programmes.

“The first phase includes water treatment plants, pipelines, reservoirs and booster stations which are required to effectively resolve immediate water supply issues,” he told reporters after the winding-up debate in the Sarawak State Assembly here.

He said these projects, when completed, will increase the treatment capacities and volume of water delivered, and improve the water pressure in stressed areas where ageing pipes have burst and at over-capacity treatment plants.

Rundi said 49 projects under the first phase have been completed and commissioned while 142 others are under construction, with a total cost of RM2 billion.

He said under the first phase, his ministry has targeted to implement 324 water supply projects.

Rundi explained all these water projects are state-funded as the state government cannot rely on the federal government for funds.

He said the waiting time for funds has been “too long” since the days of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

“With all these uncertainties, what choices do we have? We have to come up with our own money. The people down there are screaming for water so we have to carry out our responsibilities.

“Here, we are praying for things to come. Never come,” he said, before adding: “Since the state government has the resources, why not make use of it.” 

On electricity supply, he said two generator units of 312 megawatts (mw) each at Balingian coal plant will be commissioned in the second and third quarters of this year.

“In addition, the 842mw Tanjung Kidurong gas plant will be commissioned in 2021,” he said.

He said Sarawak’s present installed grid generating capacity is about 4,600mw, most of which come from Bakun, Murum and Batang Ai dams.

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