Saturday, December 3

Move to corporatise Sabah Water Dept

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KOTA KINABALU: The State Works Ministry is looking into transforming the Water Department into Water Commission and as a corporate body.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin said the Water Department has not been profitable in its operations.

Indeed, the department’s expenditure exceeds its income by RM300 million, while also suffering from non revenue water (NRW), he said.

“With the commission, there will be less bureaucracy. The corporatisation (of the Sabah Water Department) will result in the creation of a different image, a different spirit,” he said.

Moreover, he added that the Sabah government shall no longer have to worry about funding the operation of the department with its corporatisation.

Bung also said that Sabah has lost several keen investors in the last few months because of water supply shortage issues, among them an investment in an oil refinery which would have provided a lot of job opportunities.

“We lost billions (in terms of investments)…they divert to other  places because we have water supply issues.

“Because of that, I have asked the Water Department director to write a paper which will be presented to the cabinet so that we can transform the department into a Water Commission for Sabah to address the problems that we’ve been having since attaining independence,” he said.

He added that the problems have not ceased and will continue to prevail unless changes are made.

Bung also said that he will insist with the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government for change in the Water Department.

At the same time, he also mentioned the proposal to construct the dam along the Papar river and said that it is imperative to move forward even with the objections from the people, namely, the kampung folks.

“Don’t be emotional because water is important to generate our economy. We will prepare a good platform for our future.

“If we sit here and do nothing, it is better not to sit here,” he said.