Posted on June 28, 2011, Tuesday
KUCHING: The statement by Wong King Wei (DAPPadungan) that the government has failed to provide basic utilities to the people in rural areas in the state is unfounded, Public Utilities Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said yesterday.
He said his ministry is fully aware of the needs for electricity and water supply in rural areas and therefore, over the years, the government has implemented many projects to extend electricity and water supply to the various villages and longhouses under the Rural Electrification Scheme and Rural Water Supply (RES) programmes.
“From the beginning of 2010, the implementation of these projects was accelerated with the commencement of the National Key Result Area (NKRA) programme to improve the rural basic infrastructure in the state.
“The statement by the member for Padungan that the government has failed to provide these basic needs to the people is therefore unfounded,” he said.
Awang Tengah, who is also Second Planning and Resource Management Minister, said this during his winding up speech in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday, in response to an issue raised by Wong during the debate last week.
Earlier, he told the august house that under the RES, the state had been allocated some RM1.7 billion for the commissioning of 24-hour electricity supply to 95 per cent of the rural population involving 78,000 households.
He said that up to end of last year, the government had managed to supply reliable power supply to 12,256 households and the target for this year is to cover 21,792 households.
This would be done by extending the grid system and through alternative sources such as mini-hydro and solar hybrid.
For rural water supply, Awang Tengah pointed out that around RM1.5 billion had been allocated to the state to supply clean water to about 90 per cent of the rural population.
“By 2012, a total of 90,000 households are expected to enjoy clean and treated water whereas for this year the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development has targeted to bring the supply to 13,000 households,” he explained.
Meanwhile, in response to the issue brought up by Baru Bian (PKR-Ba Kelalan) that power from the Bakun hydroelectric project (HEP) would be sufficient to meet the demand of the whole of Sarawak and that there was no basis to have more dams, Awang Tengah stressed that the implementation of the hydropower projects depended on demand, not only to meet immediate needs, but also projected future growth.
“The timing and sequence of these projects will be customer driven and the state will undertake these projects to match the requirements of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) industries and that of domestic and commercial customers,” he said.
He explained that the 2,400MW Bakun HEP alone was inadequate to meet the projected demand in the state and as such Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) needed to develop an additional generation capacity of 6,200MW by 2020 from its current capacity of 1,250MW.
“Hence, additional power plants are required to be developed through sustainable harnessing of our huge hydro potential resources and coal reserves.
“The harnessing of these indigenous resources, providing competitively priced energy will attract global industries to the state thereby propelling the achievement of a high income economy and a developed state status by 2020.”