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Last Update: 20 Jan 2020
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600,000 Sarawak households to get free water from Jan 1

Sulok Tawie
Malay Mail16 December 2019
Rundie said the state government has allocated a sum of RM8 million in 2020 to alleviate the financial burden of low-income urban households. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Rundie said the state government has allocated a sum of RM8 million in 2020 to alleviate the financial burden of low-income urban households. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUCHING, Dec 16 — A total of 600,000 households in Sarawak with domestic accounts will each enjoy about 11,300 litres of free treated water from January 1 next year, state Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundie Utom announced today.

He said the state government will subsidise the cost of the treated water in its efforts to provide an equitable level of basic amenities to all households in the state.

“Every household in Sarawak will enjoy free water for the first RM5 of the monthly domestic water bill, which is equivalent to about 11,300 litres of free water,” he said in a statement, adding that it will cost the state government RM40 million a year.

He said the free water programme will help to reduce the financial burden of the people, especially for those in the low-income group, B40, who need the assistance most.

Besides subsidising the cost of water, Rundie said the state government will also be subsidising the cost of new electricity connections for low-income urban households.

“New connections costing up to RM5,000 will be provided free by the state government for such households,” he said, adding that for new connections costing above RM5,000 up to RM10,000, the state government will subsidise 70 per cent of the connection cost, while the remaining 30 per cent will be borne by the applicant.

He added the state government has allocated a sum of RM8 million in 2020 to alleviate the financial burden of low-income urban households.

“It is estimated that a total of about 2,200 households will benefit from this initiative in 2020,” he said, adding that this financial assistance is to complement the state government’s initiatives in providing electricity supply to the rural areas under its various on-going schemes under Project Rakyat.

He said presently, free electricity connections are provided for the residents in villages and longhouses in the rural areas via the Additional Late Applicant Funds (ALAF) and the Rural Electrification Schemes (RES).

“All these initiatives are testimonies of our efforts to ensure that all people are provided with 24 hours of electricity supply.

“It is also noteworthy that Sarawakians are also already enjoying the lowest average electricity tariffs in Malaysia and amongst the lowest in the region,” Rundie added.

He also announced that with effect from January 1 next year, the tariff for abstraction, taking, drawing of raw water from any stream, river, water courses or subterranean sources will be increased from the current one sen per cubic metre to 2.5 sen per cubic metre.

In addition, he said the tariff for taking or impounding water from any river or stream for the generation of electricity or electrical energy will also be increased from the current one sen per kWh to 2.5 sen per kWh of electricity generated.

He said the increase in tariffs will generate RM550 million from the present RM220 million revenue for the implementation of infrastructure projects in Sarawak.

The increase in tariffs will only affect the utility service providers such as Kuching Water Board, Sibu Water Board, LAKU Management Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Energy Berhad.

“They will not affect the general public as there will be no change in both the electricity and water tariffs,” Rundie added.