KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) has helped improve the supply of water in the rural areas in Sabah from 56 per cent in 2010 to 69 per cent by the end of 2012.
He said the NKRA which was introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has benefited the people in the state.
“Since his appointment as Minister of Infrastructure in 2009, I have witnessed the rapid development of water supply development in the state, especially in the rural areas which has increased rapidly and beyond expectations.
“All this was the government’s effort in focusing on the NKRA with an accomplishment which benefitted 61,519 houses, “he said.
He was speaking at the Sabah Water Department (JANS) Silver Jubilee Dinner at the Pacific Sutera here, Friday night.
Also present were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Datuk Pengiran Hassanel Datuk Pg. Hj. Mohd.Tahir, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Datuk Felix S. Madan and the Director of the Water Department cum Organising Chairman, Ag. Mohd Tahir Mohd Talib.
Pairin said the water supply development programmes not only focused on rural areas nevertheless, in the urban areas.
He said this was because the Federal and State governments recognise the importance of basic facilities of water supply for socio-economic development in the state.
“Therefore, we also implement a long-term programme for the urban areas and corridors development. Among the completed projects are the Kunak Water Supply, Kudat Water Supply, Sandakan Water Supply and Kota Kinabalu Water Supply, while the Keningau Water Supply and SOGIP Water Supply in Sipitang are in progress.
“For the Kundasang Water Supply, design preparation has been completed and for the Long Term Water Supply at Tawau and Lahad Datu are in the research and design stage,” he said.
He added the Beaufort Water Plant Project which was announced and approved by the Prime Minister on February 14 this year is expected to commence in the near future.
Pairin also urged JANS to continue to be pro-active and to give priority to projects that can contribute to the socio-economic development and improve the quality of life in the state.
“I personally am fully aware of the issues of environmental conservation in ensuring a secure water supply for the needs of our future generations.
“In this regard, the State government through the Department of Environmental Protection has appointed a consultant to review the degradation of the environment and recommend necessary measures to overcome the problem of river pollution,” he said.
Concerned with the current global phenomenon and climate change which is expected to result in rivers going dry and disrupted water supplies, he said, JANS will continue to strengthen the planning and preparation in order to face any eventuality.
“We need to study and take a bold step forward to exploit other sources of raw river water and treatment methods. Maybe we should be innovative in managing and maintaining the water resources to overcome potential obstacles quantity and quality of raw water, “he said.
Pairin also wants the concept of ‘integrated water resources management’ or the integrated management of water resources in the state to increase in order to reduce the resources, energy and financial wastes.
“I hope JANS will succeed with the strategic planning and development in order to expand the coverage of the treated water to all citizens in the state by 2020.
“In addition, the Department must maintain an excellent level of service efficiency at all levels such as the water supply and distribution must be efficient, sensitive and responsive to the needs of the people,” he said.
He wants all the complaints about water disruptions due to a burst pipe, billing accuracy and quality of the water to be given due attention.
In respect of the corporatisation or privatization of (JBA), Pairin said the Water Department faces different scenarios with the (JBA) in the Peninsula.
“In the Peninsula, the population distributions are compact while in Sabah, the distribution of dense population is found only in the urban areas. Hence the State government needed time to consider an appropriate model of corporatisation.
“However, the government has approved the participation of the private sector in water supply management concept of ‘PPP’ (Private Public Partnership). Some companies have been appointed and binding contract with the state government to operate and maintain in the new plants which have been completed, “he said.
At the event, Pairin also launched a new JANS logo.
Source: New Sabah Times