Government will initiate measures to reform the nationwide water industry model to be more sustainable and holistic.

KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government has agreed to allocate RM800 million as immediate assistance to address water supply disruption issues in Kelantan and Sabah, which is part of the total cost amounting to RM5 billion, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

According to him, the government will initiate measures to reform the nationwide water industry model to be more sustainable and holistic, as issues related to non-revenue water (NRW) in several states continue to present challenges to the efficient supply of water to the people.

“In the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), the government has committed to allocating almost RM22 billion for flood mitigation projects. This significant funding to address the people’s problems justifies the need for the government to manage water and flood issues in a holistic and integrated manner.

“The government will also continue to explore suitable locations for groundwater abstraction through the construction of additional tube wells and underground reservoirs,“ Anwar said when tabling the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) 2021-2025 in Parliament today.

Through the Takungan Air Pinggiran Sungai (TAPS) project, efforts will be increased to provide sufficient raw water, ensuring a dependable and safe clean water supply in line with the Water Sector Transformation Agenda 2040, he added.

Anwar said acts concerning water source pollution and the water services industry will be reviewed to establish appropriate penalties for irresponsible parties releasing polluted waste into rivers, thus ensuring the sustainability of clean water sources and services for the people.

In light of the frequent floods and landslides, the Prime Minister noted that the establishment of the National Geology Disaster Centre by year-end will monitor the effectiveness of early warning systems for tsunamis, floods, and landslides. This will improve disaster response efficiency and ensure people’s safety.

He said the National Disaster Management Policy under the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) will be reviewed to strengthen preparedness and enhance disaster management capabilities.

Meanwhile, specialised efforts to protect the endangered Malayan tiger species (Panthera tigris jacksoni), will be intensified to ensure ecological balance and environmental sustainability in the long run.

“At the same time, enforcement measures to combat illegal wildlife poaching, efforts to expand protected areas, and empower local communities to safeguard other endangered species like elephants, orangutans, turtles, gaur and tapirs will be increased,“ he added.

The government will introduce climate change legislation to oversee the implementation of policies in meeting the country’s climate change commitments, Anwar said, adding that it is part of the government’s initiatives in low-carbon, clean and sustainable development, managing natural resources efficiently and enhancing capacity to boost sustainability.

“A comprehensive framework will be established to accelerate the transition to a circular economy that ensures long-term economic resilience. The government is also conducting a carbon pricing study to assess the country’s readiness to implement carbon taxes and carbon trading systems,” he said.

He also said that the government will facilitate the creation of biomass raw material hubs and financing access to ensure the efficient management of biomass not only to tackle climate change issues but also to harness them as a new economic resource. - Bernama

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