Call for joint effort to prioritise water, energy, environmental preservation

Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (File pix)

KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 (Bernama) -- The government is looking to provide safe access to clean water and adequate sanitation systems to 98 per cent of Malaysians living in rural areas with the help of other stakeholders and the establishment of an Integrated Centre for Water Data, Research and Development.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said all parties must collectively join hands to prioritise water, energy, and environmental preservation, as Malaysia transitions towards becoming a high-income nation by 2025.

“Within the next five years, the government will employ five strategies, namely empowering people as the drivers of water sector transformation; strengthening governance at the federal, state and district levels; enhancing data-driven decision-making capabilities; ensuring sustainable financing and developing sustainable and cost-effective infrastructure.

“The Water Sector Transformation 2040 (WST 2040), a two-decade agenda outlined in the 12th Malaysia Plan, will enable the water sector to significantly contribute to national growth and wealth creation by becoming a regional water industry hub,” he said in his opening speech at the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Clean Water and Sanitisation webinar, today.

The webinar was jointly organised by the Malaysian Water Association and the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister's Department.

Mustapa said in Malaysia, 96 per cent of the total population has access to clean and treated water, while 85 per cent has access to connected sewerage services.

“However, the disparity between states remains significant as only 89 per cent of the population in Sabah and 73 per cent in Kelantan have access to clean water.

“Improving access to clean and treated water, especially in rural and remote parts of our country is, therefore, a must for us,” he added.

He also outlined a few issues and challenges faced by the water industry including the poor management of water resources, which affects the supply and quality of water and tariffs in a number of states which do not cover operating costs and non-revenue water (NRW).

“NRW is high, particularly in the rural areas. The failure of the produced water to reach intended consumers is mainly due to the leakages from ageing infrastructure, and these include pipes and tanks,” he said.

Mustapa said the lack of awareness of the importance of water resources among Malaysians has also contributed to the problems that the country faces today.

“There is no robust platform for inclusive local community involvement in water governance while the lack of attention surrounding the water sector has led to high wastage.

“Furthermore, the absence of data-driven and science-based decision making has also contributed to the inefficient management of the water sector,” he said.


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