Selangor water saga: Khalid summoned to explain deal to Anwar


(MM) – Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has been summoned to meet with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to explain the details of Selangor’s newly-signed water deal with Putrajaya.

Confirming this, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali told The Malay Mail Online that the Selangor mentri besar will likely be called in to meet his party boss when the latter returns from Japan next week.

“We must allow MB the room to explain. Our concern is whether there would be an increase in water tariff prices and whether there would still be free water for Selangorians in the future,” said the Gombak MP.

Azmin added that PKR’s lawyers will also comb through the agreement to ensure that it tallies with Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) policies.

“Our lawyers will have to look at the agreement, to see whether it is legally binding and to see whether it tallies with what we, as Pakatan Rakyat, promised during the last general election,” Azmin explained.

He added that the party would have no problem with the deal if it brought up about benefits and continued with the free water plan for Selangor, but MB Khalid needed to explain details of the deal to the party leadership.

Yesterday, Selangor and Putrajaya signed an agreement to reorganise water utility in the state, which could lead to the construction of the long-opposed Langat 2 water treatment facility.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the political rivals was signed by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Energy, Water and Green Technology Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili at a hastily-convened event in Putrajaya.

PKR said yesterday it was unaware of the newly-minted water deal to reorganise water utility in the state, and that it is demanding an explanation from the state government. “The state government did not inform the party of this,” PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Under the MoU, Selangor will take over the operations of four water concessionaires — Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash) — and will place these under the state-owned Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Sdn Bhd.

The acquisition of the water supply infrastructure carries a price tag of RM9.65 billion. In exchange, Selangor agreed to approve the development order for the Langat 2 water treatment plant and ensure all necessary approvals would be given within 30 days from yesterday.

Water supply in Selangor has been a contentious issue since the state fell to Pakatan Rakyat in Election 2008, with the residents experiencing repeated supply outages that the state administration alleged were due to sabotage by the rival Barisan Nasional coalition.