Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom

SEBUYAU: The state government is developing the rural areas under its own initiative to provide basic infrastructures such as roads, water and electricity supplies.

Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom explained that such services were previously under the jurisdiction of the federal Ministry of Rural Development and hence, rural dwellers had to wait for a long time for projects to be implemented.

“Kuching Water Board used to focus towards high-level tank for water supplies, which often leads to lack of water supply – sometimes none at all.

“There were no holistic planning and no masterplan for development of rural areas,” he said during a launching ceremony of a new water supply project for Samarahan Division, at Old Ferry Ramp, Seruyuk here on Thursday.

Dr Rundi revealed that the development of water supply in Samarahan area would be implemented in three phases with an estimated cost of RM450 million.

The project will secure water supply for Kota Samarahan until Sebuyau areas.

“Phase one will be from Ensengei to Tambirat, followed by phase two – from Tambirat to Sungai Buloh.

“The third phase – from to Ladong to Simunjan and then from Sebangan to Sebuyau,” he explained, adding that the water would be sourced from the Bengoh Dam in Penrissen.

He pointed out that Kuching Water Board would be upgrading its water treatment plant at Batu Kitang for the purpose.

Dr Rundi revealed that the state government had put in place a masterplan – State Water Supply Grid System for the entire state, divided into three sections – South (Kuching to Betong), Central (Sibu, Sarikei and Mukah), and North (Bintulu and beyond).

“There are still places in the state that has trouble with water supply, and we have to make sure that everyone is not being left out,” he stressed.