Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
Beta bersyukur ke hadrat ILAHI, kerana dengan izin dan rahmat dari Nya juga, Beta dapat berangkat untuk menzahirkan titah dan seterusnya merasmikan Expo Asiawater 2008.
2. I am pleased to be here to address industry players, leaders, policy makers, regulators, academics and all those who directly have a stake in the water and wastewater industry. As a matter of fact indirectly all of us have a stake in this precious commodity for without water no form of life can exist.
3. I have been informed that at this expo visitors will be able to view a wide variety of technologies and get acquainted with global technical and professional services related to water and wastewater from 550 companies and from 32 countries. I am also pleased that speakers from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Italy, Libya, Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia will interact over the next two days to discuss best practices and exchanges ideas.
4. Water is a vital commodity in our everyday life. Habitually, we take it for granted that when we turn on the tap, water will flow- and flow in abundance. We commonly assume that there will always be an endless supply available to us. We rarely think about it’s importance until it becomes unavailable.
5. We in Malaysia seem somewhat spoilt. Rich in resources and abundant with this essential commodity, we tend to take for granted that we will always have this luxury. Being a tropical country it is hard to imagine a time of drought as it seems to rain almost everyday. However, with weather conditions changing rapidly as a result of global warming, we might find ourselves in such a position in the not to distant future. Therefore it is vital that we put in place comprehensive policies that are effectively implemented to ensure that we will never be in a situation where this basic commodity to survival is not available.
6. Since the water cycle on earth is a closed system, we essentially have the same amount of water- we cannot increase its volume. With the world population expected to increase by some 30% by 2025, the pressure on supplies of fresh water for human consumption will become more critical. As it is, some 1.2 billion people are without access to safe drinking water and half of the world’s population lacks adequate water purification systems. Some 2.4 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation which can pose contamination problems to water sources.
7. More crucially we have to share the fresh water supplies with agriculture which consumes about 70% of it and also with industry and other living things. As the global population increases, agriculture and industry will have to expand, consequently putting tremendous pressure on the fixed water sources.
8. As industries expand, they not only need more water but they could also discharge polluted water if not treated. The cost of wastewater treatment can be high but the cost to the environment and society will be higher if it is not treated. I am glad that this exhibition showcases a wide range of technological and service solutions for water, wastewater and sanitation management.
9. No two regions or country or even places within a country face identical water and sanitation problems. Some countries are more fortunate than others in having adequate natural sources of water as well as the economic resilience to provide safe water and sanitation services. In this respect Malaysia is fortunate to be blessed with ample water supply and some 98% of our urban population have access to safe pipe water and 95% of rural households to clean water supply.
10. A growing population coupled with the fast pace of socio-economic and industrial development, especially over the last three decades, have imposed greater demands on water supply. Rapid urbanization, industrial and intensive agricultural activities together with widespread land development have collectively contributed to extensive water quality deterioration, loss or reduction of catchment areas and flooding. Competition and conflicts in water usage are likely to occur largely as a result of hitherto sectoral approaches to water resource development.
11. Malaysia has recently adopted the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) concept as the overriding philosophy and the way forward in the management of its water resources as underlined in the policy statements contained in the Third Outline Perspective Plan and subsequent 8th and 9th Malaysia Plans. While innovative technologies would be required to ensure effective and efficient water supply, water demand and water quality
systems, success of these holistic management initiatives requires the support and participation of all stakeholders both from the public and private sectors including NGOs.
12. No amount of technology can replace the loss of ecosystems. In this respect let us remind ourselves of the importance of conservation which is part of the strategy in the IWRM. Take the peat swamp as an example – these wetlands are of great socio-economic importance as a hydrological regulator, playing a role in flood mitigation, water supply and buffering against saline intrusion in coastal areas. They are also habitats to a significant number of wild flora and fauna.
13. I understand that this expo showcases the latest hardware and software needed by the water and wastewater industry to complement the search for solutions posed by the challenges of our consumer society. I hope that in your deliberations you will provide practical solutions to improve the efficiency of water usage, reduction of wastage and propose technologies and management practices that can stretch scarce water supplies much further.
14. Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate the winners of the Asiawater 2008 Management Excellence Awards, the speakers, AMB Exhibitions Sdn. Bhd., The Malaysian Water Association, conference participants, exhibitors and all the organizations and individuals who are contributing to make the world a better place.
15. Dengan lafaz Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim, Beta dengan sukacitanya merasmikan Expo dan Persidangan Asiawater 2008. I now declare the Asiawater 2008 Expo and Conference officially open.