Minister proposes RM30b allocation for 12MP

Ministry will be upgrading water treatment and sewerage plants nationwide

by AZREEN HANI/ pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

THE Environment and Water Ministry is seeking RM30 billion in allocation under the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP) as it seeks to increase capacity of water treatment plants nationwide.

Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (picture) said the ministry’s main priority is to ensure the supply of treated water will be adequate nationwide in the next few years.

“Firstly, we need to acknowledge that we are still having problems with treated water supply in some of our states like Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

“We are requesting an allocation of RM30 billion under the 12MP from the Finance Ministry in stages, to ensure that some of our plans to improve water supply and preservation of the environment can be carried out effectively,” Tuan Ibrahim told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in a recent interview.

Out of this proposed RM30 billion, the minister said RM7 billion will be allocated to Kelantan as the ministry plans to build four new dams in the state for flood mitigation purposes.

It would also involve addressing and managing river and surface water sources in the state.

Additionally, Tuan Ibrahim said the existing Off-river Storage project will be continued, albeit under different name — Takungan Air Pinggiran Sungai (TAPS), or loosely known as riverside reservoir.

“These projects have been carried out in Selangor, Melaka and Johor before, so now, the ministry is planning to expand it to the east coast states soon,” he added.

According to the Kubang Kerian MP, the water supply under the TAPS project can last up to three months, and it is cheaper to treat compared to direct water supply from the river. Another focus of the ministry would be upgrading the water treatment and sewerage plants nationwide as it seeks to minimise water loss and non-revenue water.

“We have to take into accounts that seven major treatment plants in Malaysia need to be upgraded to meet increasing populations. That, of course, will involve more water usage,” said Tuan Ibrahim.

He noted that some of the plans will take five to 10 years to bear results, but some of the existing plans have proven to resolve the country’s water woes.

“Some of the critical states may take more time. We need 20- to 30-year plans to ensure that we are well prepared for the challenges ahead,” he added.

When it comes to challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, Tuan Ibrahim said the ministry has engaged state water and sewerage operators to not increase tariff and allow for payment deferment among users.

“We are aware that some of the operators have to incur more operation costs due to the Movement Control Order and increasing household usage, but we have met these operators and asked for the tariff not to be increased, at least until the economy is stable,” Tuan Ibrahim added.