‘Pairin Must Clear The Air On “Water Deals” Not Sweep It Under The Carpet’

Pairin, in grey, and government officers visiting a water treatment plant in Penampang. - File photo
Pairin, in grey, and government officers visiting a water treatment plant in Penampang. – File photo

BY BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU – Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan cannot forever claim that he is not aware of what is happening in his own (Infrastructure Development) Ministry, in particular the Sabah Water Department.

Junz Wong
Junz Wong

Likas Assemblyman, Junz Wong said Pairin, who is deputy Chief Minister, owes it to the public to come clean on the mystery of the RM 3.3 billion funding scandal as well as other privatisation deals, including that of a company belonging to a sibling of a top official in the Water Department.

Junz said such issues of great importance cannot be swept under the carpet and the issues are not about to disappear just because the Minister is a master at playing ‘tai chi’, having conveniently adopted delay tactics by not addressing the scandal.

The Parti Warisan Sabah vice president said it was ridiculous and beyond belief as to how hard it is to get a straight answer from Pairin on capital works to build dams, water storage, treatment, reticulation and so on.

“What is even more perplexing is the fact that the public including myself, knows next to nothing about contracts between the State Government and private companies to treat and reticulate potable water that have been awarded and signed off in the name of the people of Sabah,” he said at a press conference here Tuesday.

At one time it was rumoured that Puncak Niaga was to get the contract to handle operations and maintenance of all water treatment plants in Sabah.
At one time it was rumoured that Puncak Niaga was to get the contract to handle operations and maintenance of all water treatment plants in Sabah. – File photo for illustration purposes only

“It would seem to be the case that Sabah currently has over 70 water treatment plants with production capacity for treated water ranging in size from 2MLD to 100MLD.”

“My sources tells me, (although I am yet to have the information verified by the Minister) is that most of the treatment plants have been either fully or partially privatized for periods of up to 20 years more or less,” Junz claimed.

He also claimed to received an “alleged copy” of a contract (now being distributed all over social media) purportedly between the Sabah Water Department representing the State Government and a company (name withheld) to operate, maintain and manage river intakes and water treatment plants at Tuaran, Sipitang and Beaufort for a monthly lump sum fee of RM1,956,364.58.

The North Milau dam on the North tributary of Sg. Milau, Milau Treatment Works will provide 55 MLD of treated water to serve the Kudat District, up to 2020. - File photo
The North Milau dam on the North tributary of Sg. Milau, Milau Treatment Works will provide 55 MLD of treated water to serve the Kudat District, up to 2020. – File photo for illustration purposes only

“This translates to a staggering yearly sum of approximately RM24 million for one contract for 20 years,” he said.

Junz puts it to the Chief Minister and the Minister of Infrastructure Development Sabah to verify to all Sabahans if this alleged ‘agreement’ outsourcing the mantainence of water treatment plants in Sabah is authentic or otherwise.

He said the public has every right to know every detail on how their taxes are spent and their assets are managed, and the authorities should explain whether it is a fair deal for Sabahans.

The lawmaker reckoned that there were certain parties scheming to rob the state (since 2010) simply to enrich themselves, and such action is a painful betrayal to all Sabahans especially those who are suffering with no water supply at all or poor water supply.

Junz admitted he may have misunderstood some of the facts given to him by his source and that is why Pairin is needed to clarify and to clear the facts of this entire episode rather than leave it to fester all over social media.