By ILONA ANDREW
KOTA KINABALU: The budget allocated for the Ministry of Infrastructure by the state government for next year, which is the highest among the rest, will be utilised on road development projects, focusing more on rural roads.
Its minister Datuk Peter Anthony said, the allocation totalling RM929.44 million will also go to the upgrade of water and farm roads, besides improving dilapidated departments in the rural areas.
“The ministry is thankful towards Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal for his concern on the problems faced by the people in the rural areas.
“With this allocation given to the ministry, it will surely allow us to accordingly implement development projects, especially in the rural areas,” he said when met by reporters after the 2020 Sabah Budget tabled by the chief minister.
Commenting on the allocations given by the federal government, he said it would be utilised for several water plants that need to be upgraded.
“Among the water plants that will be upgraded are the ones in Tawau and Papar as well as that are ones that are currently in critical condition in other areas such as Beaufort and Tenom.
“To address this issue, we will use the allocations provided by the state government as well as working hands in hands with the federal government so that we could implement the upgrading by next year,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Peter said that while almost all the people in the state have access to water supply, there are some in certain villages and districts that have yet to apply with the State Water Department for water connection.
“When they don’t apply, we are not able to supply water from house to house… Next year, we will ensure to connect clean water to those people, especially in rural areas.
“With this, there is no need for them to rely on gravity water that we know is untreated and may cause problems during drought season,” he said.
While water tankers are currently being deployed to supply water to the people in the affected areas, Peter said that it sometimes poses difficulties as the number of available tankers is not sufficient.
“Even so, we will improve the water quality and service in the state,” he said.