Water deal would benefit public, ex-MB insists after Selangor’s ‘unilateral’ cancellation


(Malay Mail Online) – Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today he was shocked to find out that Selangor had cancelled its water agreement with Putrajaya, insisting that the deal would have benefited the public had it been carried out.

The former Selangor mentri besar, who had signed the master agreement with the federal government last September before he was replaced by Azmin Ali, demanded both Selangor and Putrajaya to come out with an immediate “feasible solution” to the water issue.

“We are shocked by today’s unilateral announcement by the Selangor Mentri Besar of non-continuation of the Heads of Agreement between the federal and state governments,” Khalid said in a statement to Malay Mail Online.

The Port Klang state lawmaker said however details of the announcement were too vague for him to comment further on the matter.

“We wish to reiterate that the water restructuring exercise that began in earnest in 2008 is meant to benefit the rakyat.

“Lopsided agreements in favour of concession companies have put the rakyat at the losing end for so long. It has to stop,” Khalid added.

Selangor has revoked its controversial water agreement with Putrajaya signed back in September last year, following the federal government’s alleged failure to comply with pre-conditions set out by the state government.

Selangor MB Azmin said earlier today the master agreement signed by his predecessor Khalid could not be carried out as the federal government had already been granted enough time to adhere to Selangor’s conditions.

Asked to elaborate on the pre-conditions that Putrajaya had purportedly failed to adhere to, Azmin said he will hold a press conference in Parliament tomorrow.

“Two extensions were given previously to the federal government to honour the agreement. One on January 9 and then another extension on February 9 this year.

“The federal government wanted another extension today on March 9, but I have said no,” the Selangor MB explained.

Earlier in Parliament, Azmin told reporters that the “next move is up to the federal government” now that Selangor has decided to cancel the water deal.

“The ball is in their court,” Azmin said.

“It’s the same position as the state government’s stand on the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex),” he added.

The first-term mentri besar had previously demanded that Putrajaya publicly disclose the details of the water agreement as part of his pledge for accountability to Selangor voters.

He had said that a full disclosure of the agreement signed by his predecessor and Putrajaya was necessary to justify the possible impact of the deal on consumers.

Last year, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said that his ministry would not disclose the contents of the water deal, following legal advice from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

The water deal was among the given reasons for Khalid’s removal as MB. Azmin previously said he would review the agreement after he took over as the state’s chief executive.

Under the water agreement, Selangor was meant to infuse a new special purpose vehicle with RM14.92 billion in assets to manage the water restructuring exercise with Putrajaya.

The federal government was also to provide RM2 billion to help offset the state’s cost of taking over the four concessionaires — Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH).

In return, Selangor would provide all necessary approvals for the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant that it had previously resisted.