Ministry mulls security framework to ensure dam safety

19 Nov 2019 / 20:55 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources plans to establish a security framework governing the safety and design of building of dams in Malaysia.

Minister Datuk Dr A Xavier Jayakumar said he would want to have a regulatory system whereby all the dams in the country have to be regulated and maintained, and reports have to be sent to a centralised database to make sure the dams are safe.

“So my instruction to the ministry is to pursue this agenda and that we would set up a security framework, with the act of parliament. It is not only applicable to private dams but it has to be applicable to dams owned and maintained by states themselves,“ he said when opening the International Conference on Dam Safety Management and Engineering, here today.

He said it would be good for all state governments to follow the regulatory system to ensure that all the 104 dams in Malaysia are safe.

“So we will have a centralised regulatory body which looks into the safety and design of building of dams for the future in Malaysia. But it will take some time, maybe by end of 2020 that the new regulations will be brought to parliament for approval,“ he said.

Dr Xavier said before 2018, the safety management practice by dam operators in the country is largely by self-regulation and there was no specific law or guideline on dam safety in Malaysia.

However, the Malaysia Dam Safety Management Guidelines (MyDAMS) were implemented in September 2017, he said.

“Since then, the ministry has put an effort to ensure that all our dams are maintained in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner and according to MyDAMS,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Xavier, who is also the Member of Parliament for Kuala Langat, said he had already asked the Penang and Perak state governments to discuss the issue of water transfer.

He said his ministry would mediate the discussion to ensure a win-win situation for both states.

“We are going to work out the price mechanism to ensure that nobody is going to lose. If everything goes well, we should be able to start this project in RMK12 (12th Malaysia Plan),“ he said.

The Penang-Perak water issue has been a long-standing matter between the two states, with Perak insisting on selling treated water and Penang wanting raw water instead.

It was reported that the Penang government and Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) were seeking to commission the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme (SPRWTS) by 2025, to tap a second major raw water resource for Penang.

Sungai Perak is a relatively under-utilised Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) raw water resource, and the SPRWTS has the potential to ensure water supply sustainability in Perak and Penang until 2050. - Bernama

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