Pakatan leadership gives blessings to water MoU after being briefed by Khalid

water mou

Meena Lakshana,

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership has given its blessings to the Selangor  water restructuring deal one week after Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim inked the Memorandum of Understanding with Putrajaya.

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the Pakatan Presidential Council had a meeting yesterday where Abdul Khalid briefed the coalition’s supreme council leaders –  Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang and Anwar himself – on the details of the MoU.

“The Presidential Council unanimously supports the principle of Abdul Khalid’s attempt to restructure the water services industry,” Anwar said in a statement today.

“At the meeting, the leadership of Pakatan Rakyat had offered advice and views to ensure the restructuring of the water services industry offers the best returns and effects to the people of Selangor, including the issues touched upon in the MoU betwen the state government and the federal government,” he added.

Meanwhile, responding to pressure from leaders within Pakatan for more transparency regarding the MoU, the coalition has also decided to form a special committee to oversee and give feedback on the restructuring exercise.

Anwar said the new panel’s task includes checking details and giving feedback on various agreements to be signed between the state government and the federal government.

The panel comprises some of the loudest representatives who had ardently called for transparency on the matter: PKR strategy chief Rafizi Ramli, PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and DAP Selangor chief Tony Pua.

Anwar said senior lawyer Tommy Thomas has also been enlisted in the committee as an independent representative of the Selangor people to ensure the agreement is water-tight in order to safeguard the interests of consumers.

It was recently reported that the federal government is scheduled to sign a heads of agreement with the Selangor government over the restructuring of the water services industry.

Abdul Khalid had said the agreement, to be drafted by both the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry and the special purpose vehicle of the exercise Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Sdn Bhd (KDEB), will be more comprehensive and detailed on the state government’s water restructuring plans.

A heads of agreement is a non-binding document outlining the main issues relevant to a tentative agreement. It will only be legally binding when it is adopted into a parent contract and subsequently agreed upon.

Rafizi had been vocal about his dissatisfaction over the process by which the MoU was signed, questioning several details in the document.

He claims the MoU favours the federal government over the state government and that ultimately, the people of Selangor will lose out due to an increase in water tariffs to absorb the high costs of the water supply industry restructuring exercise and the Langat 2 project.

Furthermore, he said the validity of the MoU is questionable, as it was not tabled before the state executive council for approval.

Abdul Khalid, in his response, said the figures and data presented by Rafizi were inaccurate and differed from that presented by the National Water Services Commission (SPAN).

He also said since the MoU involved the federal government, it could only be divulged after obtaining approval from Putrajaya.

Despite this, Abdul Khalid said he would make the agreement public in a week’s time.

Dzulkefly had also questioned the manner by which the agreement was signed, as he sits on the board overseeing the matter, but was not informed about the MoU prior to it being signed.