BAGAN SERAI: The government has in principle agreed to approve an allocation for the implementation of a raw water distribution project from Sungai Perak to the Bukit Merah Dam to provide treated water supply to northern Perak and Penang, estimated to cost RM4 billion.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said part of the project will support the Kerian Integrated Green Industrial Park (KIGIP) in Kerian.

“If the water supply in Perak is managed well, it will not only suffice but exceed expectations. Through water management projects and several local programmes, it will meet the needs of KIGIP, irrigation needs in Kerian, and extend to Seberang Perai.

“It requires RM4 billion in funding, and the government in prinicple agrees, although not this year, but we will prioritise it,“ he said when launching the KIGIP Master Plan here today.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy Transition and Water Transformation Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad and Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

Touching on KIGIP, Anwar, who is also the Minister of Finance, said that the approval for the proposed interchange from KIGIP to the North-South Expressway (PLUS), estimated to cost RM60 million, will be expedited to support KIGIP’s development.

The (Perak) state government has requested the construction of a new interchange from KIGIP to the PLUS highway, equipped with facilities such as a surau and toilets, to support development and complete the transportation ecosystem of the area.

The proposed location is about 3.6 km from the Alor Pongsu Toll Plaza heading north, which will become the main gateway to KIGIP. The construction of the interchange will benefit nearby residents, including those in Bagan Serai, Kampung Sungai Bogak, Kampung Tali Air and Pekan Simpang Lima.

Additionally, Anwar noted that the KIGIP marks a significant project for the country, encompassing advanced technology, artificial intelligence and energy transition.

He added that the companies involved are also encouraged to prioritise local labour from the surrounding areas, including Bagan Serai and Kerian.

“KIGIP will also offer Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) opportunities to local youths. Companies can hire many local engineers and provide them with high incomes,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Fadillah, in a press conference later, said a committee chaired by him has been established to ensure that all infrastructure for the KIGIP project are completed as soon as possible.

“I have been entrusted by the Prime Minister to oversee all infrastructure for this project (KIGIP) to be completed as quickly as possible.

“There are four basic infrastructures we need to consider: first, energy; second, water; third, roads; and fourth, communications,“ he said.