Selangor official says Peter Chin should quit over water row

By Hafidz Baharom, The Malaysian Insider

A Selangor state executive councillor today said water minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin should resign for failing to use his powers under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (WSIA 2006) to solve the current water crisis in the state.

Earlier today, Chin had announced the formation of a special Cabinet committee to study the issues with regards to water supply in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

The committee will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and consists of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar, Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala, and Federal Territories Minister Raja Datuk Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.

Chin was not included in the committee.

The minister also announced that representatives from the state of Selangor were not invited to join the special Cabinet committee and would only be referred to if their views were needed.

In a statement, state executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar said that the state was sceptical of the motives of the formation of the panel and called for Chin’s resignation.

“We question the creation of this committee as we already have the a Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water whose minister has jurisdiction set in the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (WSIA 2006).

“Since the minister himself has failed to use his authority to carry out the restructuring of the water industry in Selangor and he is not on the special Cabinet committee, the state asks that the minister resigns immediately,” he said.

Dr Jayakumar also said that the state was very suspicious of the role of Noh Omar on the newly formed Cabinet committee.

“We also question the role of Datuk Noh Omar in this special Cabinet committee as he is a federal government minister who is strongly lobbying for the construction of the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant,” he said.

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) on Tuesday denied claims by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim that the water distribution company had failed to discharge its duties as provided for in its concession.

Syabas Technical Services Executive Director V. Subramaniam said that the water crisis at present is the result of a shortfall in treated water for distribution caused by the refusal of the state government to issue the development order for the construction of the Langat 2 treatment plant.

“If the federal government insists on the establishment of this special committee, it is only fair to the 5.7 million water consumers in Selangor to be represented by our Tan Sri Menteri Besar to protect their interests,” Jayakumar said today.

On Monday, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced that the state government would be using clause 32 of the concession agreement with Syabas to take over operations of the water supplier, accusing them of being incompetent for failing to lower non-revenue water (NRW) to below 20 per cent and owing RM 2.8 billion in arrears.

The state government also disputed claims of a water shortage by Syabas, saying the dams in the state are overflowing in the current rainy season. But Syabas said it was referring to the water treatment plants which are at full capacity.