Winter Solstice Message By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 21.12.2016.
The Penang state government wishes a Happy Winter Solstice and hopes that the tradition of family reunions will be celebrated in the spirit of goodwill, respect and love amongst 1.6 million Penangites of different faiths, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds.
The Winter Solstice celebration is only meaningful when all communities are assured that the basic infrastructure and amenities such as water, electricity, telecommunication and digital connectivity are supplied without interruption. Water supply is turning into a critical issue in Malaysia as a result of climate change. Climate change causes long drought that dries up water dams and reduces our water tables.
Almost every state in Malaysia have faced long droughts and imposed water rationing. Even Taiping with the highest rainfall in Malaysia had to carry out water rationing last year. Penang is fortunate that we are probably the only state in Malaysian history that has not imposed water rationing through CAT administration of competency accountability and transparency. We have prepared ourselves through a 3-prong strategy of:-
a) making top management personally responsible with a “heads will roll” philosophy if water rationing is imposed,
b) competent water demand management through punitive rates imposed on those who waste water and implement water conservation programs; and
c) competent water supply management through determined and extensive protection of water resources by being the only state in Malaysia to fully gazette water catchment areas as well as over-designing our water treatment plants, water pipes and water reservoirs to achieve more than
adequate water supply allowing Penang to enjoy the highest water reserve margin in Malaysia of 32%.
Since 2000, the Penang state government has spent RM1,456,41m in capital development projects in building new or upgraded water treatment plants, pipes and water infrastructure. The state government has also surrendered a portion of its assets to the Federal government so that the Federal government can fund the RM1.2 billion Mengkuang Dam project(expected to be completed in July 2017) that will increase water capacity by 4 times with a new dam circumference of 11 km.
The Penang state government has also being criticised for its “heads will roll” philosophy in putting top management of Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang(PBAPP) to assume personal responsibility by resigning if water rationing is imposed. However this stern ruling has concentrated the focus of top management in PBAPP on taking all measures to ensure no water rationing, including seeking new alternative water resources.
This is the reason the Penang state government is able to guarantee 1.6 million Penangites and investors continuous water supply without any water rationing until 2030.
LIM GUAN ENG