Ranhill Utilities Bhd subsidiary SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd has budgeted RM730mil up to 2005 to further improve its water management operations in Johor.
SAJ chief executive officer Ahmad Zahdi Jamil said the budget was for construction of a water plant, improving the distribution system, and assets replacement.
He said it included replacing old underground pipes, some of which were laid right after the country's independence, to reduce non-revenue water (NRW).
Ahmad said, currently, Johor recorded about 30% NRW, the lowest in the country. The national average is 40%.
“Our long-term target is to achieve 20% NRW, lower than the global rate – 22% – set by the United Nations,” he told reporters at the opening of the 16th Malaysian district water engineers annual meeting by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.
Ahmad said water demand in Johor was expected to reach 1,337 million litres daily from 2005 onwards – a 6% rise annually – in tandem with industrial, property and trade activities.
He said, according to Kajian Sumber Air Negara 2002, Johor had adequate raw water sources for its population up to 2050, despite the rise in demand.
Asked whether the company would extend its services to other parts of the country, he said it would like to, if given the chance by other states or the authorities.
“We have the expertise, and our record in Johor shows that the company has rendered good services to users,” said Ahmad.
In fact, the Malacca and Pahang governments had approached the company to submit proposals for water privatisation projects, he said.
Ahmad also said the company was negotiating with the Sabah government on its water management, but nothing had been finalised yet.
He declined to comment on whether SAJ was the sole contender for the Sabah water contract, adding that any announcement would be made by Ranhill Utilities.
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