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Minister: Electricity coverage in S’wak almost 99 pct

Minister: Electricity coverage in S’wak almost 99 pct The Borneo Post
Gambar hiasan: Sarawak Energy

KUCHING (July 28): The electricity coverage in Sarawak is now almost 99 per cent, said Utilities and Telecommunications Minister Datuk Julaihi Narawi.

He said the ‘last mile’ to achieve full 100 per cent coverage is the most difficult part, including meeting the more than 40,000 applications under the Additional Late Applicant Fund (Alaf) initiative.

“What I want to emphasise is that the Alaf project is ongoing. We do not want people to say we are doing it because of election. No. We are continuously doing it every now and then, be it election or not election.

“We are always busy on the ground. We need to accelerate it. Throughout Sarawak, there are problems faced which are actual on the ground,” he told a press conference after closing the Workshop on Alaf Implementation at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) yesterday.

To a question, he informed that electricity connection to 8,000 of the 40,000 applicants have been completed since the initiative started in 2018.

He explained the connections are mainly in the rural areas, to new houses built by extended families and houses in newly opened areas.

He also mentioned that he had called on the Ministry of Utilities and Telecommunications, Sarawak Energy Berhad and all those involved to obtain the actual number of households needing electricity.

He said this can be done by working together with the Resident’s Office, District Office and Sub District Office throughout the state.

“We hope the 40,000 applications represent the actual figure. We do not want anyone to be left behind. We do not want people to come and say they did not get electricity,” he added.

He also informed that the Alaf initiative, funded by the Sarawak government, was initially allocated RM80 million in 2018.

“We have submitted for RM150 million additional allocation. This means it will involve RM230 million,” he said.

On a related matter, he said there is a need to increase the number of competent persons among electrical contractors to handle the over 40,000 Alaf applications

“Now we have 20 contractors with 30 teams and 20 consultants. We feel the number is probably not enough,” he added.

To a question, he said among issues and challenges faced in implementing Alaf is accessibility to households located in rural and interior areas.

He also said another issue faced is ‘izin lalu’ (seeking permission) from landowners to connect electricity.

Meanwhile, a total of 140 participants took part in the two-day workshop. They comprised those from government agencies such as State Financial Secretary’s Office, Unit Pendaftaran Kontraktor Jururunding (UPKJ), elected representatives, electrical consultants, contractors and representatives from the ministry and Sarawak Energy (SEB).

Julaihi said through the workshop, the participants discussed in detail on how best to solve the problems, in order to accelerate and facilitate the implementation of Alaf especially in the rural areas.

“We want to ensure every household in Sarawak is supplied with electricity as soon as possible,” he said.



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