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Malaysain government's initiatives to improve basic infrastructure

KUALA LUMPUR: Following are the highlights of th Malaysian Government's Transformation Programme to improve basic rural infrastructure this year.
* To build 210km of new paved roads in Peninsular, 192km in Sabah and 145km in Sarawak;
* To provide new or restored houses for 5,819 poor and hardcore poor in Peninsular Malaysia, 4,988 in Sabah and 5,819 in Sarawak;
* To increase the percentage of houses with access to electricity from 99 per cent to 99.6 per cent in Peninsular, from 67 per cent to 72.6 per cent in Sarawak and from 77 per cent to 80.8 per cent in Sabah; and,
* To increase the number of houses with access to clean or treated water from 89 per cent to 91.8 per cent in Peninsular, from 57 per cent to 62.1 per cent in Sarawak and from 57 per cent to 58.7 per cent in Sabah.

In this programme, the rural and regional development ministry has been entrusted with developing basic rural infrastructure, centred on improving the quality and pace of the provision of roads, water, electricity and housing.

Over the next three years, the ministry targets to build 11 times as many kilometres of roads, 2.5 times as many houses, provide five times as many houses with electricity, and connect seven times as many houses to clean water, as compared to what was achieved in 2006-2008. Hence, the ministry has formulated detailed initiatives to achieve the targets including:
* Using innovative, quick and at minimal cost, ways of delivery like building standard-design houses, using distributed power generation technologies and alternative solutions;
* Revamping existing administrative processes to reduce time, required like in the roads open tender process, without sacrificing good governance;
* Facilitating and working closely with suppliers to ensure the supply and availability of sufficient machinery, materials and manpower, when required; and,
* Ensuring the ministry has effective programme management by closely monitoring projects to ascertain they adhere to the budget and are delivered on time.

Under the programme, 1,900km of new and upgraded roads will be built in Sabah and Sarawak, 70 per cent of which will be paved and the rest with gravel. As a result, an estimated 800,000 people will be connected to the road network.Under the programme, every road to be built and upgraded across the country has been identified in detail, including its point of origin and destination, total length, width, material to be used, implementing agencies and the people to be connected.

On housing, 50,000 houses will be built for the rural poor and hardcore poor, two-thirds of them in Sabah and Sarawak. The houses built or restored in the programme will be of standard design, component materials and labour costs to ensure the expected cost of delivery can be planned and managed.

The ministry's rural electricity supply programme, on the other hand, will connect 140,000 additional homes, 95 per cent of which will be in Sabah and Sarawak.

Some rural areas, however, are isolated from electricity generation and transmission infrastructures. In such cases, the ministry has decided to use power generation technologies such as solar hybrid power generation or micro-hydro electricity.This will increase the percentage of households with access to electricity in Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak to 99.6 per cent, 81 per cent and 73 per cent, respectively, by the end of the year.
Currently, the percentage in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak is 99 per cent, 77 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, over 360,000 additional households are expected to be supplied with clean or treated water under the programme. For this, 36 water treatment plants will be built to serve rural areas. For areas which are some distance away from existing water treatment plants and water mains, the ministry has decided to use alternative solutions such as tube wells, gravity wells or rain water recovery.-- Bernama
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