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There are few countries not experiencing population growth at present, and Malaysia is no exception, having gone from six million citizens in to more than 30 million today. Thanks to its competitive economy, Malaysia has an ever-greater ability to afford the infrastructure necessary for supporting quality of life. Within peninsular Malaysia, and with the exception of a few local councils in Johor Bahru District, there are tens of thousands of kilometres of sewerage pipeline and some thousands of treatment plants.
Founded in , the Konsortium was transferred to government ownership in , through Minister of Finance Incorporated. Since then, it has enacted a strategy to develop an increasingly effective sewerage system, while also educating Malaysians about the importance of its work. The need for an efficient system is clear, given that the population is growing at an annual rate of around 1. To adjust to this development, IWK implemented a Sewerage Development Plan to improve infrastructure, and advise in the efficient distribution of capital towards projects.
IWK is welcoming the assistance of foreign investors to drive other projects along further. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has invested in projects that cover 13 urban areas and the provision of three new sludge treatment facilities.
One project in Kepong was delayed for fear of careless construction causing sinkholes or settlement. In a residential area, avoiding these kinds of issues is essential. Nevertheless, IWK is working to complete it as quickly as possible, without sacrificing the safety of the neighbourhood. Of course, the creation of new infrastructure is only half the battle.
To keep up with the growing demand for functional civic infrastructure, IWK is working towards rapid customer response times.
When it comes to overflowing manholes, for example, almost per cent of all cases are resolved within a hour period.
Missing manholes are replaced within 12 hours — with specialised hinges and locks to reduce theft rates. Pipeline blockages are also dealt with as quickly as possible, and the Konsortium offers to replace broken pipes in public areas.
This is part of an effort to be easily contactable and to achieve full accountability, an essential quality for a service so essential to public life. Outside of Johor Bahru, the Konsortium has implemented similar initiatives to make billing easier.
In keeping up with the times, the company is adopting online payment to encourage on-time bill payment; along with rising operational costs, low charges and large outstanding bills are having a greater impact on the Konsortium. Another example — this one somewhat more fun — is a recent contest in which one lucky customer was awarded a car for paying their bills on time.
Its educational programs have reached thousands of students in many communities and have helped to communicate the importance of efficient, modern sewerage systems.
With this message ingrained in the minds of young people across Malaysia, the developing country is destined for civic infrastructure capable of accommodating an ever-greater population.
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