KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Ministry of Infrastructure Development Tuesday expressed confidence it can save the government RM1 billion after the on-going review of the agreements with water supply management contractors.
Minister Datuk Peter Anthony said the ministry is in the final stage of review of the agreements with the six companies for water supply management for 20 years, which he had described as very lop-sided.
These contractors have also been unable to resolve the problems associated with water supply faced by the state, he said during Question Time in the state legislative assembly.
“If the appointed contractors are terminated, we can save up to RM1 billion in terms of the cost for them,” he said when replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Masiung Banah (UPKO-Kuamut).
Masiung wanted to know the plan of the new government in terms of the agreement reached with the water supply management contractors done by the previous government.
Peter also disclosed that these companies did not come up with their own expenditure for the management of the 58 water treatment plants but depended on the government’s allocation of RM15.5 million every month.
Replying to another supplementary question, from Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR-Tambunan), Peter said that improvements will be made to all dams as well as water treatment plants in every district, including Keningau.
Meanwhile, according to Peter, the state government must go ahead with the decision to build the dam in Papar in order to solve the state’s water woes.
He said that the government is looking at two locations: Kaiduan, which drew strong opposition when announced by the previous government, and Mandalipau, which is located just down the river.
“Under the previous government, the Kaiduan dam will have the capacity to produce 1,000 million litres of water per day.
“After taking a look at the water supply situation in the West Coast around Beaufort, Papar, Putatan, Kota Kinabalu, Inanam and up to Tuaran, there is between 10 to 15 per cent shortage, so we need an alternative, whether we like it or not, we need a dam,” he said.
Anthony said the water demand from households and industries is increasing daily and the government must find a viable solution soon.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal has also said the government might have to solve the issue of water shortage with the unpopular dam, noting that the long-term effects of having water supply at a lower price would be worth it.