BAU: Seventy-sevenvillages comprising 1,910 households will receive electricity supply under the Additional or Late Applicant Funds (ALAF) scheme of the Rural Electricity and Water Supply Project 2020 for Bau District.
Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the state government had almost achieved its goal of 97 percent coverage in 24-hour rural electricity by the end of this year.
“Under ALAF, the applicant households have to fulfill certain criteria and conditions,” he said at the project launch at Dewan Serbaguna Kampung Suba Bau here yesterday.
He added that Sarawak Energy Berhad had standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place as to which households were eligible for the programme.
“At the same time, the state government understands that not everyone can afford connections for electricity and water.
“Therefore, the state government has agreed to cover the cost of connecting electrical service lines under RM5,000, while connections from RM5,000 to RM10,000 will be 70 percent-government subsidised – meaning the house owner only has to pay 30 percent of the cost,” said Dr Rundi.
He said that the state government showed great concern and consideration for the B40 (low income) group and their needs.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that the previous federal government had planned and implemented programmes for electrical and water supplies in Sarawak. He said, however, there had been many complaints.
“When they introduced the water supply here, there was only the main pipe, but no connection to the house. This is because these efforts were planned by those who had not experienced the situation in the villages here,” he said.
Dr Rundi said that the state government had thus taken measures to handle these issues, including allocating RM2.8bil for water-stressed areas in Sarawak, including Bau.
“If Bau is experiencing such problems, then just imagine what the other areas are going through,” he said.
Touching on telecommunications service, he said the construction of more telecommunication towers by Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) was not necessarily the solution – believing that the issue was service providers.
“The government has to find ways and means to service the remote areas,” he said.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Utilities (Rural Electricity) Datuk Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Utilities (Water Supply) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep, Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh and permanent secretary to the Ministry of Utilities Datuk Alice Jawan Empaling.