SHAH ALAM: Selangor has been told stop giving excuses or continue to drag out the issue of the water restructuring exercise with Putrajaya.
The state government led by PKR has been told to put aside political differences and work together with the Federal government for the sake of the people to ensure that continuous supply of treated water are provided to those living in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
Malaysian Consumer Protection and Welfare Board president Datuk Seri Prof Dr Saharuddin Awang Yahya said the ball has always been in Selangor’s court when it comes to the completion of the restructuring exercise, but the state government has been prolonging the issue for several years now.
“I do not think it is the Federal government that is dragging its feet. As long as Selangor fully gives its cooperation, I am sure the Federal government will make the effort to complete it as swiftly as possible, and once and for all," Saharuddin told the New Straits Times Press today.
He said this is unthinkable given the fact that Selangor is the most developed state in Malaysia, where economy is booming and it is home to some 6 million people.
“Selangor must play with its role to speed up agreement on the water restructuring exercise as well as the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant (WTP). As long as these two (matters) are not settled, treated water will never be sufficient for the people and in the end, the people are the ones who have to suffer.
“I feel that if the water restructuring exercise can be concluded as well as the completion of Langat 2 WTP, water disruption will be a thing of the past and the supply will be sufficient. That is paramount to the people. Ensuring adequate treated water is vital," said Saharuddin.
Saharuddin said Selangor, led by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, must be concerned with water issues that may plague the people as they, too, are paying customers but yet, have no choice but to make do with unsatisfactory water services.
"Water is something very simple and basic but it impacts us the most. This is unlike the good old days where we can go to a nearby river to bath or fetch water. The Selangor state government must be on the same page as their Federal counterpart on this," said Saharuddin.
Saharuddin was asked to comment on New Sunday Times' front page yesterday, which among others, highlighted that Selangor taps may continue to run dry should the state government remain “stubborn” on completing the water restructuring exercise even as its water reserve margin stands at four per cent.
Experts have warned that the scenes of dry taps, water tankers making their way to housing estates and snaking queue of people holding pails and water containers waiting for the precious commodity may be a common sight in the future.
An analyst also said that the delay in the water restructuring exercise has negative impacts. These include the fact that water supply cannot be effectively supervised by the National Water Services Commission Malaysia (SPAN) under Act 655 of the framework to improve the quality of service; the state government cannot get the financial facility to develop the water asset infrastructure from Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB), which is more competitive compared with commercial financing; and with a smaller capital investment by the state government, it will affect water supply to residents in Selangor from the aspect of water supply quantity and quality.