Several water treatment plants and windmills in rural Sarawak are “not functioning”, according to state PKR head Baru Bian, who wants the government and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to step in.

The projects, which have cost millions of ringgit to build, install and operate, are under the Rural and Regional Development Ministry.
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Bian cited the example of a water treatment plant in his constituency of Ba’Kelalan in Lawas, which had cost the government more than RM3 million to build.

“The plant is (meant) to pump water from Sungai Muda into tanks where it is then filtered to supply clean water to the Budur Nur village of more than 70 households. But untreated and murky water has (been) supplied to the households.

“Now there is no money to buy diesel - costing about RM1,000 a month - to run the plant, which is not maintained at all. I’m told there are a few of these in Sarawak, and there are similar problems at each.”

Bian also highlighted the case of windmills, including three in Bario, which are not working and therefore unable to generate electricity for villages.

“Each windmill is worth RM6 million. Imagine, these were constructed at the foot of a hill where there is no wind ... one has (even toppled over),” he said, noting that windmills in other countries are either located on a hilltop or in an open area.

“The construction of (all) these projects (in Sarawak) is a clear waste of public funds. The amount spent could well run over RM100 million.

“This money should have been used to repair schools or teachers’ quarters in my constituency that are badly in need of repair.

“In one primary school in my constituency, the teachers and parents came up with their own money to repair the teachers’ quarters, as their request for funds was not met.”

Bian said he believes the projects were implemented to pacify the rakyat who have been angry that they have been neglected.

“This tactic was done during election time,” he said, accusing the BN government of wasting public funds as well as “cheating the people”.

The writer, who uses a pseudonym, is based in Sarawak.