DAP slams Selangor govt over water disruptions


(The Star) – Heads must roll if water disruptions in Selangor continue and the state is forced to implement another round of water rationing.

“There can be no more excuses.

“It was just 10 days ago (June 17) that the state government provided the guarantee that there will be no need for water rationing when the dry season hits in the next few weeks, exacerbated by the El Nino phenomenon,” Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said in a statement Friday.

“The fact that serious water disruptions are occurring over the past week, so soon after the ‘guarantee’ provided by the state government, only exposes a lack of seriousness in tackling the issue and sheer incompetence on the part of the relevant authorities,” the Selangor DAP chairman added.

“Such a degree of incompetence cannot be tolerated because it has embarrassed the Mentri Besar and the state government, as well as severely damaged Pakatan Rakyat’s credibility.”

Pua said on June 11, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had provided assurance that the state will not repeat its water rationing exercise despite a possible dry spell in the next few months due to the El Nino phenomenon.

“There is currently no plan for another water rationing exercise. The state government will work to ensure that this does not happen,” Khalid had said.

Among the measures implemented to address low water supplies were 20 pumps placed in nine disused tin mining ponds to supply 800 million litres of raw water daily to Sungai Tinggi and Sungai Selangor.

According to Khalid, the Selangor water management board (Luas) had conducted drill tests to make sure all the pumps were functioning properly, Pua said in his statement.

Another to issue such a guarantee was state executive councillor in charge of Youth and Sports, Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairib, who said the state had enough water to last for at least five months, based on water levels at retention ponds and dams.

Yet, Pua pointed out, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) issued a warning early this week to residents in Gombak, Petaling and Klang of possible water disruptions due to alleged low-levels of raw water in Sungai Selangor on Thursday, affecting up to 157,000 users.

Pua termed it a shocking and unacceptable development, and said Selangorians were right to be upset over the deteriorating situation after suffering a two-month water rationing exercise since the end of February.

“At that time, it was arguably excusable because the relevant authorities were taken by surprise by the harshness of the unexpected dry weather,” he said.

Pua called for the punishment of incompetent parties as there was “no longer any valid reason” for the lack of preparedness to address low water supplies, seeing that the state water authority, Syabas and the state government were fully aware of the upcoming seasonal dry weather.

He also echoed a suggestion by Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming for the immediate establishment of a high-level water task force – comprising Khalid, key elected representatives and state officials –  to find and review solutions to the state’s water woes.

In addition, Dr Ong had also urged the state government to establish contingency plans, such as dedicated water disbursement teams in disruption-prone areas to provide sufficient resources.

“It cannot be more strongly emphasised that these measures must be urgently considered and executed to relieve the burdens of the suffering rakyat while we await the improvements on water management expected after the state successfully takes over the operations of the Syabas and the water industry,” Pua added.