New water tariff to offer ideal rates for all

Monday, 21 October 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Infrastructure Development is currently finalizing a proposal on a new water tariff for Sabah, said its minister, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

He said final details were being ironed out to ensure that the new rates would be fair to all different consumer groups.

“We are taking into account the public interest and considering various factors involved so that we can have the most ideal rates for domestic, commercial and industry users,” he said to reporters here yesterday.

Pairin noted that the current flat-rate system used in Sabah was not only outdated and impractical but also unfair to normal consumers who have to pay the same price as heavy users in commercial and industry sectors.

He said the ministry recognized that a review was long overdue but it must carefully consider all aspects involved before it could decide on a new rate system.

He said Sabah would also look at the different rates imposed in other states across the country as an additional guideline.

“We are almost at the last stage in making all the necessary considerations. Once it has been finalized and submitted to the Cabinet, only then we will make the announcement,” he said, declining to give any time frame as to when the new rate could be introduced.

He also reserved his comment when asked if domestic consumers could expect a lower rate as compared to the existing one should the the prices for industry and consumer users be increased.

“We will take that into consideration too. I think staggered rate system is the way to do it, where a certain volume of water should be charged a certain rate and if the consumption is more than that, a different rate would be applied. We also welcome any ideas and suggestions on this,” he said.

It was announced in March that a consultant had been appointed to conduct a holistic and comprehensive study on the State’s water tariff, which has remained unchanged for more than 30 years.

With the Water Department under pressure for unprofitable operations, mainly due to huge losses caused by water theft and poor maintenance of the distribution system, the move was said to be a vital component towards improving the water supply system.

The flat rate of RM0.90 per cubic metre makes the commercial tariff in Sabah one of the lowest in the country, but the opposition argued the same rate also translates to the highest domestic rate in the nation.

DAP Kota Kinabalu member of parliament Jimmy Wong had repeatedly criticised the Barisan Nasional government for the expensive domestic rate, pointing out that ordinary Sabahans were paying 50 per cent more for water than their counterparts in neighbouring Sarawak.

The Borneo Post


Post a Comment

Important - The views expressed and the links provided on our comment pages are the personal views of individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sabah Report.