KUCHING: The Sarawak government will be spending about RM40 million per year to cover the cost of its free water scheme starting Jan 1, 2020, the Utilities Ministry said.
It said in a statement today that the provision of free water for the first RM5 of the monthly bill is one of the initiatives of the state government to reduce the financial burden of the people, especially in the rural communities.
Explaining that the RM5 sum was based on the average monthly water bill per account of the rural communities, it said: “It is estimated that a total of 600,000 domestic and rural consumers in Sarawak will benefit from this initiative.”
The ministry also announced free electricity connection charges from Jan 1 next year of up to RM5,000 along with subsidies of up to 70 per cent for connection charges between RM5,000 and RM10,000 for low income urban households.
“More than 22,000 households comprising low income urban households as well as rural households supplied under the current rural electrification programmes will benefit from this new policy, easing financial burden.
“We believe this will also expedite our vision to achieve full electricity coverage by 2025 or earlier, providing 24-hour access to reliable, renewable and affordable supply,” the statement said.
The schemes were first announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who is also Finance Minister, when tabling the 2020 Sarawak Budget in the State Legislative Assembly on Monday.