Projects worth about RM2 billion to address water shortage and RM1.2 billion for rural electricity have been awarded and are making good progress.
Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said many of the water projects are expected to be completed by end of next year, with a small number of them spilling over to 2021.
Meanwhile, the rural electricity projects are in various stages of implementation. A majority of the initial projects are to strengthen the grid infrastructure in remote areas before connecting the outstanding rural villages.
“There will be more projects in the coming months. Overall, we are on track to achieve 97 per cent rural electricity coverage by 2020,” he said when winding up the debate on the state’s Supply 2020 Bill for his ministry, yesterday.
He further pointed out that his ministry was implementing 322 water supply projects under ‘Projek Rakyat’ aimed at relieving water stressed areas and those without access to potable water.
“There are 266 stressed area projects that are scheduled for completion by 2020. However, a few more complex ones may spill over to 2021.
“Two hundred and seventeen of these projects, worth about RM2 billion have been awarded, with 87 smaller ones already completed and the remaining under various stages of implementation.
“Nine other projects costing a total of RM417 million are having their tenders evaluated while 40 more are being designed,” he said.
He also noted that Jabatan Bekalan Air Luar Bandar (JBALB) has successfully carried out several interventions that resolve water supply issues at several villages in Siburan, Kabong, Meradong, Balingian and Sg Asap to name a few.
Regarding electricity, Rundi said Sarawak will continue to maintain a balanced generation mix for energy reliability and security, with 75 per cent from hydropower and the remaining 25 per cent from indigenous coal and gas.
“The grid generation capacity in Sarawak is now about 5,000 megawatts (MW) with the commissioning of two generating units of 312 MW each at Balingian Coal Power Plant.
“The plant is a timely addition to meet the projected power demand of about 4,000 MW by 2020 (while maintaining the required regulatory reserve margin) before the new 842 MW Tanjung Kidurong Gas Power Plant comes into service,” he said