KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI) had appealed for the scheduled implementation of the new water tariffs to be deferred due to the current economic situation.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said he will hold a discussion with them once he receive feedback from his officers who were studying the appeal forwarded by FSI.
Pairin who is also the Infrastructure Development Minister said FSI president Datuk Seri Panglima Wong Khen Thau wrote an appeal letter to him recently.
“He sent a letter to me together with the background and I have already replied the letter,”said Pairin yesterday when asked to comment on the call by Wong requesting the government to postpone the implementation of the new water tariffs during a media networking lunch recently.
He said the current 90 sen per cubic metre of water remained unchanged since 1982. Under the new revised rates, commercial and industrial consumers would have to pay RM1.60 per cubic metre for 70 cubic metres, and RM12 more for more than 70 cubic metres for monthly usage.
“Whatever we have done is based on the present situation of what we think is proper and fair as far as the consumers is concern and also in the context of wanting to do better for the government side,” he said.
“We have pointed this out to them during our discussion and we have been practical in our approach, the industry should not simply ask to remain at 90 sen. In any case we are ready to talk to them and everybody must be prepared for adjustment.”
Wong has said FSI had recommended to the Ministry of Transport and state authorities to designate Sepanggar Port as a shipping hub for the Far East and the officials from the Ministry had visited the port recently.
When asked about the development, Pairin said he was unaware and wasn’t informed of the visit.
“I hope I am invited to all visits and talks as Sabah as a counterpart must also be involved in whatever programmes planned; we also have a stake in whatever development being considered,” said Pairin.
“In fact we already touch base last time basically there are understanding already and the only concern from the minister is to look at the transport section because lorry owners wanted to ask for consideration for road tax,” he recalled.
“He (the Transport Minister) is welcome to Sabah and I hope I am keep in the know because we have to sort out this problem together otherwise it will be one sided because we have requested recently for some adjustment including the idea to abolish the cabotage policy,” said Pairin.
On another note, Pairin accepted an invitation to be the guest of honour to launch the cultural village exhibition organised by the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK).
The event is being organised in conjunction with the annual Chinese New Year Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival 2015 on Feb 7 at Likas sports complex indoor stadium.
The organising committee of the festival led by USCCAKK president John Lim Yu Sin paid a courtesy call at his ministry office to send in the invitation for the inaugural event which will showcase the respective culture and identity of the 15 Chinese association under USCCAKK.
“This programme has tremendous potentials to be promoted as a tourism product and will attract more investors to Sabah,” Pairin commented.- By Bosco Wong/Sayangsabah.