Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Peter Chin has given the Selangor government the green light to make yet another acquisition offer to the state's four water concessionaires.
The four concessionaires are Syarikat Pengeluar Air Berhad (Splash), Konsortium Abbas, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and Puncak Niaga Holdings Berhad (PNHB).
"We have no objections," Chin said during a press conference at his ministry today.
"Go ahead and I wish you luck. We have never prevented the Selangor government from making such an offer as long as it's on a "willing buyer-willing seller" principle and follows regulations."
Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim yesterday said that he has written to Chin's ministry to inform them that the state government would take over the state water service industry if Chin didn't respond within two weeks.
The letter was sent yesterday and the move would be effective from Feb 14.
Khalid said that the move was based on a recent statement by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the federal government had no objection to a takeover.
Muhyiddin chairs the Special Cabinet Committee on the Selangor Water Issue which was set up in July 2012.
Echoing Muhyiddin's statement, Chin said that previous letters from his ministry to Khalid had stated the same as he viewed it as an ordinary commercial offer that required the agreement of the relevant parties.
As such, Chin added, Khalid only needed to summon representatives from all parties for a negotiation rather than publicly discuss his takeover intentions and issue "warnings" to Muhyiddin and him.
"If there is an agreement, then report it to the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) and me," he said.
"I hope Khalid will not blow up this issue anymore and make it seem like the Federal government is against Selangor's intention to make a takeover."
Chin however said that he wasn't privy to the details of Khalid's latest offer as he hadn't received any information nor Khalid's letter.
When asked whether he would respond to Khalid upon receiving the letter, he answered, "Yes! I will respond and I will say exactly what I am saying today. I would also love to see the letter he has written to the concessionaires if he has even written one yet."
According to Chin, there had been many unofficial meetings between him and Khalid over the water issue in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
Chin said he had always maintained that the Federal government had no power to force the water concessionaires to sell their equity to the Selangor state government.
He also pointed out that the Federal government had previously carried out successful water restructuring plans in six states, including Penang, and questioned why Selangor wasn't using this proven method.
Chin then criticised the Selangor government for being more interested in politicising the issue instead recommending solutions and said that the takeover offer would not resolve the real issue at hand.
"The Selangor government's statements have created unease among many quarters and has spooked shareholders," he said. "Do I need to mention that Selangor has a stake in Konsortium Abass, Splash and Syabas?"
Selangor - through Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor (KPS) and Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (KDEB) - owns a 30% stake in Syabas, a 30% stake in Splash and a 55% stake in Konsortium Abass.
The state government has made three previous takeover offers to the four water concessionaires between 2009 and 2012. All three offers were rejected.