Sabah Works Ministry proposes sewerage fees

0

Bung Moktar

SANDAKAN (Jan 6): The Sabah Works Ministry plans to implement sewerage maintenance service charges in the state to ensure the sewerage system is at the optimum level.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who is also Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, said laws for this purpose would be enacted to consolidate sewerage bills with water bills.

“In Sabah, we do not have an act for the collection of sewerage payments. We will come to that stage one day (for sewerage payments) because sewerage is very important as anywhere in the world, they place importance on health,” he told reporters after officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sandakan sewage treatment plant and sewerage pipeline construction project, here on Thursday.

Bung Moktar said the sewerage charges would not be too high so as not to burden the public, but the people must be responsible for ensuring their common well-being.

He also asked the State Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment to see how the method could be extended to water villages.

He said it could either be in the form of providing awareness on health and hygiene to the community or encouraging homes to use proper toilets which have a piping system that can channel sewage to the sewerage system.

The project, valued at RM221 million, is expected to be completed in 2025 and will benefit about 70,000 residents.

Meanwhile, Bung Moktar said houses should not be built too close to the road and on its reserves as it would be difficult to widen and upgrade it in future.

“Road reserves cannot be occupied. If this is understood, they should build a house a little farther from the road.

“When a house is built beautifully, the cost (compensation) is not calculated according to the price of the house but according to the government’s financial ability,” he said.

Bung Moktar, who is also state Works Minister, said some 50 houses will be demolished to make way for the Kinabatangan district stretch of the Pan Borneo Highway.

He said the affected homeowners would be given alternative plots of land to rebuild the houses, subject to certain conditions, as well as the government’s financial capabilities.

The highway stretch through Kinabatangan involves three packages that connect Sandakan-Kinabatangan-Beluran and Telupid districts in the east coast of Sabah. The 58km stretch will cost RM877 million.

In November, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob launched three packages of the highway project for the east coast of Sabah.

Apart from the Pan Borneo stretch, Bung Moktar said, another road construction project was being implemented in Kinabatangan which connects Linayukan in Tongod (central Sabah) with Sinaron in interior Keningau.

The 40km road was started last year at a cost of RM320 million, and is expected to be completed within three years.

“This road network is expected to be a catalyst for the surrounding economy, and it can connect the Ranau, Kota Kinabalu, Kinabatangan and Pensiangan districts,” Bung Moktar added.