KOTA KINABALU: The water woes particularly in the Sabah capital must be resolved effectively in order to consistently attract investment into the state, said Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
The State Finance Minister noted much talk had been centred on getting investors here, adding, however, that it was vital that basic facilities were ready and available first.
"You can only convince big time operators to come over to Sabah if you can convince them there is (stable) power and water supply.
"It’s not only a reflection of the State Water Department (on the water supply shortage) but it also reflects Sabah’s commitment to investors," he told reporters after a breaking of fast event with Ministry staff here on Friday (March 31).
Masidi said this in response to questions from the media over the water supply issue which seemed to have worsened with every passing day and the state government’s short and long-term efforts to resolve the problem.
The Minister was also asked if there was any tangible solution decided for the issue following last month’s meeting with Deputy Chief Minister cum Sabah Works Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya.
Masidi said they were looking at “all options on the table” to overcome the problem including the privatisation of water services as well as change of personnel although nothing was concrete yet.
"This issue is under his (Shahelmey) Ministry’s jurisdiction so I don’t want to be seen as interfering but it’s just that our meeting only involved general discussions to come up with firm and drastic actions to resolve the problem.
"It was more of a brainstorming session and we feel there must be more such sessions in order to come up with some practical solutions to the problem.
"I know it’s not easy, a lot of people think if we change the people then the problem will be solved but it doesn’t work that way.
"There are factors and issues that are beyond the Water Department as there are other ministries involved as well.
"But what we are saying is we are looking at all options available to the state in order to, probably not solve the problem once and for all, but come up with the roadmap that will lead to solutions," Masidi said.
As a short-term measure now, he said, the Water Department would probably need to proactively send water supplies to affected areas.
Towards this end, Masidi backed his Cabinet colleague to eventually resolve the problem.
"(From our meeting) I’m happy to note that he is eager to do his job, he knows exactly what needs to be done and he’s willing to listen to other people’s opinions as well.
"He’s just been appointed as the minister, so give him an opportunity to re-look and revalue the entire situation so he can come up with solutions," he said.