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RM2.8 bln to improve water supply in rural areas

Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Johari Tun Openg (centre) with Minister for Utilities, Datuk Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom (left) visiting one of the exhibition booths during the 4th Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibiton and Conference 2018 at Pullman Hotel, Kuching. PHOTO: MOHD ALIF NONI

KUCHING: The State government has allocated a total of RM2.8 billion to improve the water supply in the stressed areas of the rural areas within two years.

Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Johari Tun Openg said the allocation would be used for infrastructure development in the stressed areas so that there will be supply, distribution and treatment of water.

“I have postponed the LRT project and now I want to focus on water supply for the villagers.

“All the water agencies are really busy, and no more excuse of no money. If the federal says no money, the state has money as we want to give water to our rural people,” he added.

He also emphasised that the implementation of water supply in the stressed areas must be completed in two years.

“Our contractors must be the number one contractor, given the job they must do it and don’t sub-contract it.

“The moment you sub-contract it, it will be non-revenue project. You have to do it on your own and contractors must have knowledge of the latest technology,” said Abang Johari during the launching of the 4th Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibiton and Conference 2018 at Pullman Hotel here yesterday.

Meanwhile, he urged suppliers of the water supply project to supply materials at affordable cost.

“I have decided that for the supplier, priority must be given to a Sarawakian company and the company has to supply quality standard pipes.

“The contractors also need to have their consultants and engineers to be involved in the planning because there has to be a certain plan for the project implementation,” stressed Abang Johari.

He added that the project will involve various companies to ensure that the entire state has clean supply of water within two years.

“The project will be carried out simultaneously with all the packages and I want our local people to keep abreast, use modern management and implementation must be of standard,” he said.

He also said that the state government will install digital control through the pipeline.

“Once you lay down the pipes, the data will be stored in the Water Department’s central system.

“That will enable us to manage the distribution of water. If there is any problem, the signal will appear and we will send our people to rectify the problem,” he said.

Abang Johari revealed that the water supply project comprises 247 projects which includes water treatment plant, distribution network systems, improvement works, pipe replacement, non-revenue water management, modernisation initiatives and Sarawak Alternative Rural Water Supply (SAWAS).

On the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law), Datuk Liew Vui Keong, Abang Johari said that the special committee to study the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 needed to be expanded.

“This committee should be expanded and must be like the originally formed committee, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC).

“The new IGC committee is to study all the aspects of our Federal Constitution and MA63, and it will be formed comprising State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament.

“This will allow them to interact with each other and study the Federal Constitution and MA63 in restoring the rights of Sarawak and Sabah.

“But it will be better for us to look at it constructively and in totality because Article 112D in the Federal Constitution also has to be strengthened,” he added.

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