Pledge on water safety, supply
Published on: Thursday, January 17, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The water supply from all 58 water treatment plants throughout Sabah, which were taken over by the State Government from the water concessionaires on Tuesday, is clean and safe to drink, State Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony assured on Wednesday. 

He said this in refuting an allegation in the social media that the water from these plants was untreated and unsafe for consumption. 

Peter said there was also no water shortage following the State Government’s take-over of the 58 plants. 

He said the take-over process went smoothly for all the plants except for two, at Milau in Kudat and Segaliud in Sandakan, which were suspected to be sabotaged but already resolved and now operating normally. 

“Presently, all the 58 water plants are in good condition and fully managed by the State Water Department. I assure that the water from all the water treatment plants in Sabah is clean and safe for consumption,” he told a press conference at his Ministry’s office in Sembulan, here, Wednesday. 

He said the allegation that there was not enough chlorine and others to treat the water at the plants was unfounded and baseless. 

He also reassured all former staff of the terminated six concessionaires that they will be absorbed into the State Water Department and will get their appointment letters soon. 

“The same thing with their salaries which I have said earlier will be maintained and probably an improvement which we will look at, based on the recommendations from the State Water Director,” he said, adding he was confident that none of the 1,335 staff concerned will face a salary deduction. 

“I assure that their salaries will at least be maintained or raised a bit,” he said, thanking all the former staff of the 58 water treatment plants. 

“All staff at 56 out of the 58 water treatment plants fully supported the action by our Ministry and Department for the benefit of Sabah and its people. 

“Only the 94 staff at Segaliud plant and 39 at Milau plant were against it and did not want to work under the department,” he said. 

Anthony said he had instructed the Water Department Director to take in new staff for both the Segaliud and Milau water plants immediately.

“I also want to stress here that the Ministry will not hesitate to take necessary action against those who tried to smear or defame or give false statement with intention to give bad name to the Government and Ministry. 

“We know there are such elements and asked the State Water Department Director to lodge a police report against those behind the latest allegation that the water supplied by the State Water Department is unsafe for consumption, which is untrue,” he said. 

On one of the terminated concessionaires, Arawira Sdn Bhd, which reportedly is contemplating legal recourse for all damages and losses resulting from the unilateral termination, Anthony said they have the rights to do whatever they like and it is up to them. 

“The country and our Ministry are always open in this matter. What we have done at the Ministry level is more on how we can assist the State Government to improve the financial standing of the State through reducing expenditure at the Department and Ministry-level,” he said. 

“It is up to them. But don’t forget that before this, under the previous government, they (the concessionaire companies) had served since so long the question is had these companies concerned paid taxes to the State Government?

“I believe these companies had never paid taxes properly to the State Government. We will give detailed figures of how much we (the Government) had paid these companies and look at whether they had paid taxes to the State Government according to the figures, the millions of ringgit, which we paid them.

“So they must remember this. We at the Ministry is open about this. We will also not hesitate to take similar action, if there is a need for it,” he said. - Larry Ralon


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