RM5.17 bln for devt, provision of utility services in rural areas

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KUCHING, May 17: A total of RM5.17 billion has been allocated by the Sarawak government for the development and provision of utility services in the rural areas.

The Ministry of Utilities in a statement today dislcosed that from the total amount allocated, RM2.8 billion is for water supply and RM2.37 billion for electricity supply.

“The initial allocation of RM2.8 billion for water supply is to implement the immediate strategy of improving and upgrading the existing water supply systems throughout Sarawak.

“This allocation has now been increased to RM4 billion to enable the implementation of several major water supply projects to be initiated now so that they can be implemented in the 12th Malaysia Plan,” it said.

The ministry also noted that 234 water supply project worth about RM2.55 billion has been awarded to address the issues in water stressed areas, with 116 projects already completed and 118 projects under construction.

“For rural electricity supply projects, close to RM1.2 billion worth of projects have been awarded for implementation with more projects to be awarded in the coming months.

“Most projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2020, with some projects having wider scope of works spilling over to 2021. Overall, the Sarawak government is on track to achieve projected rural water and electricity coverage by 2020.

Meanwhile, the Ministry also pointed that the Sarawak government’s strategy to increase rural water supply coverage includes extension of water supply mains and implementation of the Sarawak Alternative Rural Water Supply (Sawas) programme.

Water main extensions along existing roads will be connected and supplied from the existing water supply systems and the implementation of road projects will therefore facilitate the extension of water mains to more rural communities.

“A total estimated cost of RM135 million has been allocated for the next phase of the Sawas programme under Projek Rakyat. The implementation of the programme will contribute towards achieving our target of full potable water supply coverage by 2025,” the ministry noted.

The ministry also pointed out that Sawas will be synchronised with the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) as electrical power is required for the operation of most of the standalone water supply systems as part of the integrated plan for rural communities, where it is feasible.

“It is projected that the water supply coverage will increase to 67.7 per cent for rural areas and to 84 per cent overall for Sarawak, by the year 2020, while for electricity supply, the overall coverage increased from 92 per cent in 2015 to 97 per cent in 2019 with rural coverage increased from 83 per cent to 93 per cent.

“By 2020, the overall electricity supply coverage will be 99 per cent with rural supply coverage projected at 97 per cent. It is planned to increase both utility supplies coverage to 100 per cent by the year 2025,” the ministry revealed. — DayakDaily