Ongoing court case in the way of Syabas takeover, says Kettha

(Bernama) – The federal government cannot consider the Selangor state government’s request to take over the operation of Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) due to, among others, an ongoing court case.

According to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry, a court case had been filed by Syabas to seek compensation as the Selangor state government did not agree to raise water tariff in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya since 2009.

“In addition, the Selangor state government’s allegation that Syabas refused to raise the tariff was not sufficient for the state government to take over based on clause 32 of the Concession Agreement,” it said in statement.

The ministry’s statement was also to correct several statements made by the Mentri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and several state exco members including Health, Plantation Workers, Poverty and Caring Government Exco, Dr Xavier Jayakumar as well as Klang member of Parliament Charles Santiago since July 23 on the water problem in the state.

Among them was the statement by Welfare, Women’s Affairs, Science, Technology and Innovation Exco Rodziah Ismail via the website Selangorku on July 24 which alleged the state government wanted to take over the operation of Syabas because the company was not capable of managing water supply but was not approved by the federal government.

The ministry said the federal government would obtain the final view from the Attorney-General on the matter before taking any action.

Touching on Dr Xavier Jayakumar’s allegation in the same website on the same day, that it was the responsibility of the federal government and Syabas to maintain and improve water assets in Selangor which were leased to them, the ministry said the Selangor government as the owner of state water assets never leased any of its water assets to the federal government.

“The Selangor state government, as owners of assets of the state as provided by National Water Services Commission (SPAN) under Section 188 of the Water Services Industry Act 2006, is responsible for ensuring water supply availability at treatment plants in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya,” it said.

Meanwhile, the responsibility of Syabas as the operator of water distribution in Selangor was only to supply and distribute treated water.

“And it was not Syabas’s role to ensure water supply availability,” according to the statement.