Putrajaya-Selangor water tiff puts supply at risk, concessionaire warns

Tan Sri Rozali Ismail

(Malay Mail Online) – Selangor’s renewed disagreement with Putrajaya over the state’s water utility has frozen infrastructure work and upgrades and is putting supply at risk, one concessionaire claimed today.

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) complained that Selangor’s “cancellation” of its water restructuring agreement with Putrajaya meant the firm could not proceed with the projects necessary to secure the state’s water supply.

“For all your information, old piping replacement works, current system upgrading and a list of other efforts are forced to be halted simply to wait for the water restructuring deal to see the light of day,” Syabas chairman Tan Sri Rozali Ismail said in a statement read out by the firm’s chief operations officer Datuk Lee Miong Khor.

“Worst still is that the treated water reserve for consumers in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya is only around 1 per cent to 0.72 per cent in January and 0.68 per cent in February,” he added.

Rozali also warned that consumers will face imminent water shortages and supply disruption if the Langat 2 water treatment plant contingent on the agreement is not constructed.

“To date, there are 1,038 new development projects with a daily water supply demand of 850.82 million litres which are on hold,” Rozali said today, adding that large and medium-sized developments in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya worth billions of ringgit cannot be carried out as there is no water supply.

“I believe that under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Mentri Besar of Selangor Azmin Ali, unresolved issues can be ironed out in an amicable manner,” he added at a press conference at Syabas headquarters here.

On March 9, Selangor 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 Mentri Besar Azmin Ali said the master agreement signed by his predecessor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim could not be carried out as the federal government had already been granted enough time to adhere to Selangor’s condition

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.

Azmin also said Putrajaya had sought to acquire Selangor land for the water restructuring deal for free.

Today, Rozali said all precondition necessary under the sales and purchase (SPA) agreement for the takeover of water assets from the state concessionaires were still incomplete despite the deadline being extended twice on February 9 and March 9 this year.

“This failure is because the Selangor administration and the federal government are yet to settle unresolved issues pertaining to the terms and conditions of the agreement.

“Syabas was made to understand that the Selangor government has forwarded a request to extend the deadline of the SPA again, to Puncak Niaga Holdings Berhad (PNHB) and that it would be discussed at Syabas and PNHB’s management level before being finalised by PNHB’s board of directors,” Rozali added.

He said that Syabas will continue its operations for consumers’ sake despite being at a “deprived position”.