‘No regrets’ excluding Anwar from water deal, says Khalid


(MM) – Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim denied today he regrets excluding Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from the newly-signed water deal between Selangor and Putrajaya.

The Selangor mentri besar said he had to keep the deal secret to prevent insider trading, which would have then inflated the original offer price.

“Anwar represents Selangor folk. I too represent Selangor folk. What is most important is we find the best way to implement it.

“Selangor folk asked for the water assets to be consolidated with the best price,” Khalid told reporters after an event in the Selangor Islamic University College here.

Khalid insisted it was important for him to pay the best price for the water concessionaires in order to keep water bills low.

On Wednesday, 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 Khalid and Energy, Water and Green Technology Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili at a hastily-convened event in Putrajaya.

Khalid also rubbished claims that there is severe infighting in PKR and that it will affect Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) chances in the Kajang by-election.

Despite allegations of a deepening feud between him and Selangor PKR chief Azmin Ali, Khalid claimed their relationship is “very good”.

“Infighting in politics, is quite common in Malaysia. There is even infighting in Umno, MIC. There is also infighting in MCA,” Khalid said.

He also claimed that it will be impossible to curb any infighting from arising in PKR and in Malaysian politics, but conceded that the level is still moderate compared to other countries.

However, Khalid is likely be called in to meet Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to explain it in detail.

This comes as PKR said 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.

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.