KUCHING, May 17 — The Sarawak government has increased its allocation of RM2.8 billion to RM4 billion for the immediate implementation and upgrading of water supply systems throughout the state, Minister of Utilities Datuk Sri Stephen Rundie said today.
He said the allocation is also for some of the major water projects that will be implemented under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
“A total of about RM2.55 billion for 234 water supply projects, to address the issues in water-stressed areas, have been awarded, with 116 projects already completed and 118 projects under construction,” he said when responding to criticisms by a former federal minister Datuk Joseph Entulu over the construction of the RM6 billion state second trunk road project.
Entulu, who is also a former Selangau Member of Parliament, had suggested that the RM6 billion could be better utilised for the provisions of water and electricity supplies in the rural areas.
Rundie said the state government has initially provided an allocation of RM5.17 billion under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) for the development and provision of utility services in the rural areas, with RM2.8 billion for water supply and RM2.37 billion for electricity supply.
He said close to RM1.2 billion worth of rural electricity supply projects has been awarded for implementation more projects to be awarded in the coming months.
“Most projects are expected to complete by the end of 2020, with some projects having the wider scope of works spilling over to 2021,” he said, adding that the state government is on track to achieve projected rural water and electricity coverage by 2020.
He said the state government is committed to increasing the water and electricity supply coverage to 100 per cent by the year 2025, adding that every effort is being made to ensure that these utilities are enjoyed by the people.
The ministry had submitted several strategies under 12MP to ensure 100 per cent water and electricity supply coverage as well as the provision of quality, reliable and affordable water and electricity supplies.
Rundie said the Sarawak government has developed the water supply and rural electricity supply master plans to chart the implementation of these utilities in a holistic and systematic manner for the benefit of the rakyat.
“These plans will cater to the changing needs of the communities for access to these basic utilities of water and electricity supplies.
“For water supply, the Sarawak Water Supply Master Plan and Water Grid is a holistic approach for sustainable development of the raw and treated water facilities,” he said, adding that the rural electricity master plan aims to supply through various connection schemes to achieve full 24-hour coverage for all rural communities throughout Sarawak.