KUALA LUMPUR: Some 36 rural water supply projects in Sabah and Sarawak, with a combined cost of over RM1.6bil have been delayed by up to seven years and left thousands of households without clean and treated water, the Auditor-General’s Report 2/2024 has revealed.

The projects were approved in 2016,2017 and 2018, according to the audit on the Rural and Regional Development Ministry.

Twelve projects are in Sarawak with a combined cost of RM888.32mil and 24 in Sabah at a total cost of RM758.85mil.

As a result, 9,608 households in Sarawak do not have clean and treated water while 22,621 households are affected in Sabah.

The ministry said that the delays were due to the need to appoint a consultant; design preparation and approval which takes a long time; protests from locals; changes in government procurement policies; changes in work scope and the performance of contractors as well as lockdowns ensuing from the Covid-19 pandemic.