Greater clean water access in rural areas, development of regional energy hubs among 12MP initiatives, says Ismail Sabri

PETALING JAYA: Clean water access and safe sanitation systems in 98% of rural areas by 2025 is a target of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The Prime Minister said the nation aims to be a regional water industry hub by the end of the 15th Malaysia Plan in 2040 and as such will begin a four-phase water sector transformation programme under the 12MP.

He added that this will begin by accelerating the implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the 12MP, which lays the foundation for achieving water sector transformation by 2040.

Ismail Sabri said in tabling the 12MP in Parliament on Monday (Sept 27) that some of the targets to be achieved by 2025 include: having a total of 10 maximum daily load studies conducted for critical rivers; non-revenue water level at 25%; and the establishment of an integrated centre for water data and research and development, as well as commercialisation and innovation.

He added that the target of achieving 98% coverage of access to clean and safe water and 98% coverage of a safely managed sanitation system in rural areas are also set to be achieved by 2025.

Ismail Sabri said strategies such as empowering the people, strengthening governance at all levels, enhancing capability in data-driven decisionmaking, and ensuring sustainable financing, will all be used to improve the water industry under 12MP.

He also said Malaysia will be focusing on the energy sector through the liberalisation of the gas market.

Ismail Sabri added that Malaysia will enhance energy sustainability to support sustainable economic development and the wellbeing of the rakyat.

He said under the 12MP, priority will also be given to the energy market through enhancement of the electricity supply industry's resilience to be future-proof.

Ismail Sabri said that to ensure sustainable energy for all, the government aims to introduce a comprehensive National Energy Policy from 2021 to 2040 and also see an 8% reduction in electricity consumption by 2025.

He added that the government is also targeting the establishment of an oil and gas services and equipment (OGSE) industry blueprint between 2021 and 2030 and a framework for establishing a regional gas market hub in the same period.

Additionally, he said that under 12MP, three main strategies will be implemented, which are to: enhance the energy sector; ensure sustainable and progressive oil and gas subsectors; and enhance the electricity subsector.

For the first strategy to enhance the energy sector, this includes formulating a comprehensive national energy policy and establishing a comprehensive communication plan.

To ensure sustainable and progressive oil and gas subsectors, consumption of local petrol and diesel will be prioritised, attracting high-value investment in the petrochemical industry and enhancing the capability of local players.

He said Malaysia is also liberalising the gas market to create a sustainable gas industry and ensure security of supply to become a regional hub.

Ismail Sabri added that a comprehensive natural gas roadmap will be developed for this purpose to provide medium- and long-term direction, focusing on liberalising the gas market and increasing domestic gas demand.

He said a study will also be conducted to formulate strategies in developing Malaysia as a gas market hub.

To enhance the electricity sub-sector, various initiatives will be implemented including expanding rural electricity coverage to provide electricity to an additional 28,000 houses, towards achieving the 99% target of supply coverage in rural areas.

Further reinforcing the electricity supply system in Sabah, enhancing the grid system and the electricity supply industry to be more digitised and future-proof, are also among the initiatives that will be employed.

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