Anwar joins call for Khalid to lift veil on Selangor water deal


(MM) – Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders must have full access to documents on Selangor’s water asset deal with Putrajaya to allay concerns caused by the secrecy surrounding the agreement, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday.

Despite assurances by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim that such fears were unfounded, the PKR de facto leader last night added his voice to a growing call for the former to declassify the memorandum of understanding (MoU) he signed with Putrajaya.

“There is a need for our friends, Pakatan leaders, to have complete information on the matter,” he said during a ceramah here at Desa Sri Jenaris, Sungai Sekamat last night.

The Selangor economic advisor said although he supported the agreement in “principle”, the state government must be “firm” and not allow Putrajaya to dictate the terms of the newly signed deal.

He denied, however, that the apparent differences with Khalid on the matter were signs of a rift in PKR’s leadership, and instead accused media outlets controlled by Barisan Nasional (BN) of propagating the perception.

During last night’s launch of the PAS campaign machinery for the Kajang by-election, PR leaders also came out in force to present a united front, with top leaders such PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua and PAS deputy president Salahuddin Ayub in attendance.

“There have been attempts, claims that Pakatan is split, that DAP and PAS did not support (the Kajang by-election.)

“But the presence of PAS and DAP leaders prove otherwise,” Azmin said during his speech earlier last night.

The hastily signed MoU between Selangor and Putrajaya has added to the intrigue surrounding the March 23 Kajang by-election, itself already a complex affair that is believed to be designed to allow Anwar to replace Khalid as MB.

A day after its signing last week, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin came out to trumpet that the deal was “irrevocable”.

This prompted Anwar to claim that there is still wriggle room in Selangor’s water deal with Putrajaya, although he conceded that this claim was made without viewing the document.

MoUs are often expressions of intent signed between two or more parties when they do not wish to yet enter a legally binding or formal agreement.

On Monday, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli alleged that the hastily signed water deal between Selangor and Putrajaya was not only lopsided and possibly illegal, but will lead to an inevitable spike in water tariffs statewide.

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) — for RM9.65 billion, and will place these under the state-owned Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Sdn Bhd (KDEB).

In return, Selangor undertakes to provide the necessary approvals for the construction of the controversial Langat 2 water treatment plant, which PR has fought since it first took control of the state in Election 2008.