100 pct rural coverage by 2025

Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi

KUCHING: The state government is aggressively implementing water and electricity supply projects to improve the existing services as well as to increase rural coverage.

Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi said the ministry is committed to increasing the water and electricity supply coverage to 100 per cent by 2025.

“The overall water supply coverage in Sarawak has increased over the years from 80 per cent in 2015 to about 82.6 per cent in 2019 while the rural water supply coverage has increased from 59 per cent in 2015 to about 64.8 per cent in 2019. 

“It is projected that the water supply coverage will increase to 67.7 per cent for rural areas and to 84 per cent overall for Sarawak by the year 2020.

“The state government has allocated RM5.17 billion in the 11th Malaysia Plan and agreed to increase the allocation for water supply projects from the original RM2.8 billion to RM4 billion, in its commitment to provide water supply to the rakyat. 

“Under the 12th Malaysia Plan, the ministry had submitted several strategies on increasing coverage and systems improvements to ensure 100 per cent water and electricity supply coverage as well as provision of quality, reliable and affordable water and electricity supplies,” he commented in a press statement issued yesterday in response to May 16 article in the Borneo Post.

He thanked the rakyat for raising their concerns on utility infrastructure development, and stressed that the strategy to develop infrastructure in Sarawak is based on a holistic approach.

He said the approach does not neglecting any sector, but took into consideration all sectors such as roads, public transport, utilities, agriculture, and commercial and industrial sectors.

“All agencies under the ministry are continually striving to do their best for the benefit of the rakyat.  The policies of our ministry are to ensure quality, reliable, efficient and affordable water and electricity supplies to the people of Sarawak,” he emphasised.

Dr Rundi further explained that the Sarawak Water Supply Master Plan and Water Grid were aimed at sustainable development of the raw and treated water facilities.

He said that the strategies include the implementation of water grid, utilisation of the downstream of HEP Dam as a source of raw water as well as other raw water source development, implementation of Sarawak Alternative Rural Water Supply (Sawas) Programme, improving the reliability of water supply system, implementing Non-Revenue Water (NRW) Reduction Programme, and embracing modernisation and digitalisation. 

According to him, the proposed new water supply schemes and the water grid identified in the Master Plan will be put forward for funding for implementation under the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP).

“The rural electricity master plan aims to supply through various connection schemes to achieve full 24-hour coverage for all rural communities throughout Sarawak.

“Rural communities with accessibility will be connected to the power grid system.  Communities in remote parts of Sarawak without accessibility will be supplied through stand-alone renewable solar or mini-hydro system under the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (SARES),” he explained.

With the Government’s aggressive push for digital economy, digitalisation such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Dr Rundi added that this has been innovatively adopted in the water and electricity supply services.