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RESOLVING IMPASSE: Muhyiddin to chair first meeting on Monday
PUTRAJAYA: THE government has set up a special cabinet committee to deal with the imminent water crisis in the Klang Valley following the deadlock with the Selangor government.
The committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, will meet on Monday to try to resolve the row among the stakeholders, namely the Selangor government and water concessionaire Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).
This reflects the government’s seriousness in finding a solution to the impasse as this could affect the wellbeing of millions of residents in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
Green Technology, Energy and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui said the committee would study the water supply situation in a holistic manner and discuss the Selangor government’s proposed takeover of Syabas and Syabas’ proposal to start water rationing.
Besides Chin, others in the committee are Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Agriculture and Agrobased Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar, and Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.
The formation of the committee came on the heels of a string of events starting from the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government’s refusal to agree to the Langat 2 water treatment plant project aimed at coping with the rising demand for water in the affected areas.
The project, which is part of the RM8.65 billion Pahang-Selangor raw water transfer project, was slated to be carried out this year but faced delay as the Selangor government felt the state had enough water until 2019. Work on the water transfer project started in April but hit a snag after the Selangor government did not approve the land for the remaining 15 lots required for the Langat 2 plant, in the northeast of Selangor.
Scheduled for completion in 2014, the project will pump 1,890 million litres of raw water a day from a river in Pahang to the plant.
The situation worsened recently when Syabas announced plans to start water rationing because of the dwindling water levels, but Selangor retaliated by threatening to take over its management and assets.
The state also set up a team of experts to monitor Syabas' daily operations.
In an immediate response, Selangor Health, Plantation Workers, Poverty and Caring Government Committee chairman Dr Xavier Jayakumar welcomed the setting up of the committee but wanted it to be independent.
"The Federal Government should not take sides, but can be an independent authority to look into this matter," he said after handing a letter to the Federal Government on its intention to take over Syabas.
He said the Federal Government should not accept the figures given by Syabas but also consider views from other independent audit groups.