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General : Sarawak To Apply For More Funds To Boost Utilities

KUCHING, July 2 (Bernama) — The Sarawak Ministry of Public Utilities will continue to seek additional funds from the Federal Government for its catch-up plan for public amenities in the state.

Its minister, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said, among others, only 10 percent of its rural areas had piped water supply compared to the 90 percent targeted, and only five percent had electricity against the 95 percent aspired.

He said the rate of penetration of broadband in Sarawak was 53.4 percent currently compared to 67.3 nationally, while the coverage for cellphones was 85 percent compared to 95.8 percent nationwide.

Speaking at the 10th annivarsary celebration of the ministry officiated by Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem Tuesday night, Awang Tengah said the shortfalls were due to inadequate funds, topographic conditions and scattered settlements, capacity of consultants and contractors and the hike in the cost of construction materials.

“In terms of power supply, the State Government had increased its generation capacity to 2,437 megawatt this year from 900 megawatt in 2004,” he said.

Meanwhile, Awang Tengah said enforcement measurements would also continue to be boosted to ensure consumer security and revenue for the agency supplying the utilities.

He said enforcement action would be escalated to eradicate power thefts which resulted in losses of RM140 million to Sarawak Energy Bhd in 2010.

The function last night also saw Adenan launching the on-line application system, e-Key Performance indicators System for Water Supply Services or e-KISS to facilitate the compilation of KPI delivered by four water supply utilities in Sarawak to the ministry.

Awang Tengah said the system would decide on the standard for compliance by all state water supply authorities and its implementation would enable the benchmark to be fixed, to improve performance from time to time.

— BERNAMA

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