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SEMPORNA, April 5 -- Lembaga Sungai-Sungai Sabah (Sabah Rivers Board) which has been inactive, needs to be restructured towards strengthening the management of rivers and their sustainability, thus contributing to better clean water supply in the state.
Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin who suggested this, said all the rivers could thus be gazetted as belonging to the state government for better monitoring.
"This is because Sabah is currently facing a shortage of clean water supply, with 23 of the 84 water treatment plants no longer functioning, while some of the rivers have dried up, polluted by wastes or facing erosion of the banks.
"So, how can we supply clean water to the residents if some of the rivers cannot channel the water. We have overlooked some of the issues involved,” he told reporters after the launch of a coral reef conservation programme at the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, here, today.
Bung Moktar who is also Sabah Works Minister, said the lack of commitment had also hampered efforts towards ensuring the sustainability of rivers due to problems such on encroachment on riverbanks and pollution caused by dumping of wastes into rivers.
Meanwhile, Bung Moktar called for efforts to boost protection and conservation of the state’s marine treasures through various awareness programmes in collaboration with Sabah Parks, Yayasan Sabah, and non-governmental organisations.
"For example, Semporna has 10 of the world’s most beautiful islands with their enchanting marine treasures that can attract international tourists. However, if the coral reefs are destroyed due to the human factor and weather, there must be efforts to overcome the problems,” he said.
He also said that Semporna’s infrastructure development should be in tandem with the development of the tourism sector in the district.
"With regard to planned development, for example, I hope the District Office and the relevant government department officers and leaders in Semporna could give me a good suggestion for the construction of a dual carriageway here," he added.