Kedah seeks RM207 mil foreign loan to upgrade water infrastructure

Mukhriz Mahathir

ALOR SETAR: The Kedah government is obtaining a US$50 million (RM206.8 million) loan from a foreign bank to upgrade the state’s water supply infrastructure.

Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir said the state government has applied for the soft loan with the cooperation of the finance ministry and is hoping for it to be approved soon.

“As many state representatives have said, the problem of non-revenue water (NRW) is still at a high level of 49%.

“The state government will immediately start the NRW project, which will be funded by a foreign bank, once the agreement is sealed with the finance ministry,” he told reporters after the completion of the fourth meeting of the first term of the 14th Kedah State Legislative Assembly here today.

He said a detailed study on the high percentage of NRW will be conducted by Syarikat Air Darul Aman (Sada) to identify the affected areas in the state.

“Areas which often experience (water pipe) leakages cannot be announced for as long as it has yet to be confirmed by Sada and the bank (which is giving the loan),” said Mukhriz.

Mukhriz also said that Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar told the Dewan Rakyat a few days ago that Kedah’s RM1.7 billion water infrastructure debt would be written off and considered a grant from the federal government.

“The state government is writing a letter to the relevant ministry to get confirmation on the debt write-off,” he said.

On the state assembly meeting just concluded, Mukhriz said he was satisfied that the debates went smoothly and several important issues were discussed.

He said the government and opposition debated very well and both parties made efforts to find the best approach in solving issues in the state, especially the water supply problem.