Penang wants raw water transfer scheme with Perak fast-tracked

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has urged Putrajaya and the water, land and natural resources ministry to fast-track the Sungai Perak raw water transfer scheme.

The project was initiated by the Penang Water Supply Corporation to tap Penang’s second raw water resources in Sungai Perak to meet future water demand for the state and northern Perak until 2050.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that Sungai Muda, which Penang now taps water from, may only meet the combined raw water needs of Penang and Kedah until 2025.

Chow said the state government and the Penang Water Supply Corporation had asked the previous federal government to implement the Sungai Perak raw water transfer scheme by 2025 but there had been no official reply.

“Now that Pakatan Harapan (PH) is heading the federal government, we are hoping for fast-tracked approval and implementation of the project by 2025,” Bernama quoted him as saying at the launch of World Water Day and the corporation’s 20th anniversary celebration here today.

FMT reported previously that Perak wanted to sell treated water to Penang while Penang wanted raw water from Sungai Perak.

On Friday, Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu said he stood firm by the state’s decision to sell only treated water to Penang.

The plan to extract raw water from Sungai Perak, which would be pumped through a tunnel to Sungai Ijok, was mooted in 2009.

Both rivers are in Perak but Sungai Ijok is a tributary of Sungai Kerian, which is shared by Penang, Perak and Kedah.

According to the plan, the Penang Water Supply Corporation would build a water treatment plant at the Penang side of Sungai Kerian once the tunnel is completed.

Federal authorities reportedly approved the plan in 2012 but the government did not implement it.

The construction of the 14.8km tunnel is expected to cost the federal government about RM2 billion, which Chow said last week would be privately financed.

The cost of building the water treatment plant at Sungai Kerian will be borne by the corporation.