The Sabah government will engage with related stakeholders on the building of Papar Dam while maintaining the project as its priority in solving water woes in the West Coast.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal said while the government is mindful of environmental issues which may come about following the structuring of the dam, he believed the interest of millions should also be protected.
With the rising number of locals and tourists in Sabah, he said, the necessity for water will escalate in years to come, making the Papar Dam a long-term solution to ensure sufficient water supply.
"We found that without doing another dam nearer to KK, it will affect the supply in less than five years so I'm concerned for the millions of people residing in KK including (neighbouring) districts like Papar.
"We cannot just listen to NGOs criticizing us but at the end of the day there's no water; we should take the amicable solution to this and with interest to provide ample water supply," he said.
He noted that Sabah had been dealing with the same issue but the government is now closely working together with the Federal government to implement projects for the benefit of the people.
The dam, he said, remained the government's priority and will also be monitored by the Federal government to ensure both locals and tourists would receive enough water supply.
"If this can be realized, within a short period of time, it can benefit the people and the State because it's not only the people, even the factories and investors need water when they are set up," he said to reporters after meeting the Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources Dr. Xavier Jayakumar here yesterday.
According to him, sewerage issues in other districts, as well as flood problems in Kota Belud, will also be looked into, adding that the government hopes to realize large-scale paddy planting in the district.
On water department revenue, Shafie noted that it has reached RM58 million within two months, which suggested the success of the restructuring of the department with its newly appointed officers.
The revenue, he said, could also be made as a financial source to solve water issues particularly in providing treated water supply in rural areas.
"The department previously faced credibility issues but now, it has become a source of finance for the Sabah government which will, of course, be channelled for the benefit of the people," he said.