“Stop with your absurd suggestions,” DAP MP tells Tuan Ibrahim

BUKIT Mertajam MP Steven Sim has criticised Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man for telling Penang to explore tapping into water from the ground to meet its “desperate” water supply needs.

The DAP MP was responding to Tuan Ibrahim’s written parliamentary reply to Tanjong MP Chow Kon Yeow, in which Tuan Ibrahim said that his ministry welcomed initiatives to explore alternative sources to guarantee the sustainability of the people’s water supply.

He also advised the state government to take proactive steps to encourage Penangites to save water, adding that in 2021 the use of water by Penang was 308 litres per capita compared to 301 litres per capita in 2020.

Calling the suggestion “absurd”, Sim said that Tuan Ibrahim needs to only review the Federal Government’s own reports – specifically the National Water Resources Study (2000–2050) and the Formulation of National Water Resources Policy (2011) – to know that the quantity of underground water in Penang is insufficient to cover the domestic water demand.

Furthermore, the process of extracting water from the ground could cause soil structures to sink, which would result in further damage to the environment and existing infrastructure.

In addition, rising sea levels further translates to higher risks of flooding in Penang as the soil in the area sinks, Sim added.

He said that studies have indicated that the underground water extraction carried out in the northern part of Kelantan has caused the land to sink up to 4.22 millimetres per year.

“The most drastic example is Indonesia’s move to relocate the country’s capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan as the production of underground water has caused the city of Jakarta to rapidly sink into the Java Sea,” Sim elaborated.

According to him, the water supply issue in Penang can be resolved through the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme (SPRWTS), which the Penang state government had submitted to the Federal Government.

“This scheme will not only guarantee water supply to Penang but also to the northern areas of Perak until 2050,” Sim noted.

“Unfortunately, the Federal Government did not approve this proposal and had instead suggested that Penang explore underground water which would greatly affect Penangites.

“Rather than coming up with absurd ideas, Tuan Ibrahim should carry out his responsibility as mediator for the SPRWTS proposal for there to be a win-win solution that would benefit both Penang and Perak.” – July 29, 2022

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