KUCHING: There are no plans to privatise government-linked companies managing the utilities sector in the state, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said this was in view that Sarawak is still a developing state and therefore its utilities sector required a huge budget for development. “Developed countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States have multiple utility companies but for us in Sarawak, we are still a developing state and utilities are very essential infrastructures that we need in order to move our economy forward. “There’s a lot of funds needed for us to build strong infrastructure. For instance, the construction of our hydro dam is quite enormous and that needs guarantee from the government,” he said at the ‘Sarawak 2021 Budget: Towards a High Income Society in 2030’ webinar organised by the Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) today. He was responding to a question raised by Sarawak Electrical Association president Dato Sri Peter Lu on whether the state has any plans to privatise its utility body similar to countries like Australia and New Zealand. He said at the moment, it was best for the government to manage the state’s utilities sector. “I think the time has not come for us to transfer this to the private sector because of the enormous budget you need.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari revealed that consumers will soon be able to pay for their utility bills all under one bill. “This is being done under the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) in collaboration with utility companies. “Once this is finalised, consumers can pay their utility bills in one-go through mobile payment,” he explained.