KASA’s RM1.9m allocation for Dubai Expo 2020 raises eyebrows

A motion was tabled to propose the allocation to be relocated to other ministries or for the efforts to fight Covid-19

 pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

THE Dewan Rakyat has passed the Environment and Water Ministry’s (KASA) RM3.48 billion budget allocation for next year despite the motion to slash the RM1.9 million allotted for the Dubai Expo 2020.

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah tabled a motion before the debate for the ministerial expenses began, proposing the allocation to be relocated to other ministries or for the efforts to fight Covid-19.

Maria argued that RM60 million was apportioned through the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change in 2019 to build the Malaysia Pavilion at the expo.

In his reply, KASA Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (picture) said the RM1.9 million allocation will be utilised for the ministry’s participation in the world exposition, which was not included in the RM60 million allocation.

“Dubai Expo 2020 is the first to be organised in the Western Asian region which — combined with other participating regions — has a 3.2 billion population with a GDP of US$6.5 trillion (RM26.47 trillion).

“The RM1.9 million parked under KASA will be used for the ministry’s expenses, including seminars organised for international participants,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

After each MP from all sides of the house presented their arguments, the motion was rejected through a voice vote.

In his winding up speech, Tuan Ibrahim said the environmental crime task force has conducted operations five times together with the police to combat river pollution throughout the country.

He added that the government is looking at providing alternative water sources, such as the Off-River Storage project known as TAPS, to alleviate the inconvenience during water supply disruption.

“TAPS is an alternative source which treatment plants can channel to consumers, ensuring no disruption during pollution incidents. Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, 11 TAPS projects have started, costing RM1.4 billion,” he said.

Charles Santiago (Pakatan Harapan-Klang), who is the former chairman of National Water Services Commission, raised a question on the mechanisms planned by the government to curb pollution activities.

In his response, Tuan Ibrahim said while there have been operations in monitoring the factory areas along water catchments, the government could not fully guarantee that pollution will not happen.

“Thus, we have come up with alternative water sources to ensure consumers are still getting the supply needed,” he said.

After the minister winded up the debate session, the MPs voted again on KASA’s development and operation expenses for 2021 and approved it in a simple voice vote, making it the 17th ministry budget to be passed at the committee stage.

The ministry allocates RM551.79 million for its operation, while the balance will be channelled to its development expenditure.

Under its development allocation, RM135.45 million will be channelled to water supply programmes for all states via all the management agencies, while RM275.06 million through loans.

Lawmakers also passed the ministerial expenditure for the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (Motac) and Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) yesterday.

Motac’s RM1.14 billion allocation was passed in a bloc vote of 109 to 96, while KPWKM received the green light for its RM2.58 billion expenses in a voice vote.