PUTRAJAYA: The Selangor government has claimed that under its administration, people have been enjoying free water.
However, what it does not say is that the free water is made possible due to funding from the Federal Government.
Sources said between 2010 and this year, the Federal Government invested more than RM22.3 billion to provide water supply infrastructure to Selangor, which included RM742 million under the 10th and 11th Malaysia Plans and mitigation works; RM7.6 billion for the raw water transfer project from Pahang to Selangor and the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant.
In addition, the Federal Government had allocated RM14 billion for the water supply industry restructuring scheme under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655).
The Federal Government, the source said, gave money to the Selangor government to pay for the takeover of water concessionaire companies, comprising Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash).
The source said the state government behaved as if it was the one that had resolved the state’s water woes when the Federal Government was the one that forked out the RM14 billion, the source added.
“The allocation was raised by Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB), fully owned by MoF Inc, through sukuk.
“The investment (of RM22.6 billion) has allowed domestic consumers and industries in Selangor to enjoy 99 per cent access to treated water at a low domestic tariff rate of 57 sen for the first 20 cubic metre,” the source said.
In this respect, the Selangor government cannot say that this is what it had done for the people when a big part of the allocation came from the Federal Government’s pocket.
In fact, an analyst, who declined to be named, warned that what the state government had been doing — spending more than RM14 million a month under the 20 cubic metre free water programme — would not contribute to the sustainability of the country’s water supply in the long term because it was not specifically targetted at those from the low-income group.
It is also learnt that the Selangor government had yet to settle its outstanding loan for the purchase of treated water from Splash, which had, until January, reached more than RM4 billion.
“This has forced Splash to reduce its payments to sub-contractors — Gamuda Water and Sungai Harmoni — resulting in these two companies failing to pay their electricity bills to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), worth RM53 million, until September last year. The amount will increase every month.
“TNB has started a court proceeding (on this) and such an action, it is feared, will affect the water supply in Selangor,” the analyst said.
Sources said the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant had been completed, and was testing and commissioning, involving water supply of 565 million litres a day (mld).
“By next month, Phase A of the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant is expected to receive the full capacity of water supply, and when this happens, the water situation is expected to improve.
“It is because of Langat 2 and not due to other factors,” the source said, adding that the Semenyih Water Treatment Plant could only provide water output of 100 mld.