By Ling Hui
KUCHING, Nov 23: All utilities bills in Sarawak are to be merged into one bill and paid one-go through mobile payment.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) is currently collaborating with the various utilities departments to make this happen.
“This is being done under SMA now, with the collaboration of all the utilities companies.
“It means you can pay all the utilities bills one-go through mobile payment. We are merging all the bills under one platform,” he said during the Facebook live session of Chief Minister’s Webinar on Sarawak 2021 Budget organised by Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) today.
On a related issue regarding the monopoly of utilities companies in Sarawak, Abang Johari opined the time has not yet come for the state to have multiple utilities companies such as in Australia and New Zealand.
He said countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United States are developed countries and private sectors could afford the construction of infrastructures to supply utilities, unlike in Sarawak that is still a developing state.
“This is because a lot of fund is needed for us to build a strong infrastructure system for utilities supply.
“For example, the construction of hydro dams is quite enormous and that needs guarantee from the government.
“So, at this stage, let the government develop these utilities infrastructures including water and power,” he explained.
He further emphasised the enormous budget required for such development might overburden the private sectors in the state, thus it is better for the government to handle it now.
“I think the time has not yet come for us to transfer to private sectors because of the enormous budget that you need, and also the necessary assets that you have to develop.
“At the moment, let the government does it,” said Abang Johari, answering to questions from Sarawak Electrical Association (SEA) president Datuk Seri Ir Peter Lu during the Facebook live session. — DayakDaily