Pahang agrees to restructure water services industry

DAWN CHAN

SHAH ALAM: The Pahang state government has today agreed to embark on a water services industry restructuring exercise with the Federal Government, said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

“The menteri besar (Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail) and the executive councillors have agreed to carry out the restructuring. The water issue in Pahang is critical and there are a lot of problems to be resolved,” he said during a Bicara Minda talk titled “Kita Di Abad 21: Tak Selesai Lagi Isu Air”, here, today. It was moderated by veteran journalist Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar.

“Pahang does not have the financial means to resolve it and has looked to the Federal Government to help them. We will assist them. Although Pahang is an opposition state, we have no problems with it.

“I will not follow Barisan Nasional’s principle of not assisting the opposition. We will assist the east coast states.”

Xavier said the next phase of discussions would revolve around ways to carry out the migration and restructuring of the water services industry.

“I have asked them to quantify the asset value of their industry in Pahang so that we will be able to use Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd to support them financially. This is in order to upgrade and, at the same time, ensure quality of water and that the system is properly done.

“This is also being done to reduce the non-revenue water percentage in Pahang. I want to overcome these issues and so we will work with the Pahang state government.”

On a separate matter, Xavier said the Selangor government could not decide on its own to raise the state’s water tariff rate.

“There must be an agreement between Selangor and SPAN before the water tariff is raised. Selangor cannot act unilaterally and likewise for SPAN. They will have to discuss and there are a lot of elements to study before arriving at a new water tariff,” he said.

“The rakyat do not need to worry. If the water tariff is to be adjusted, we will provide the quantum for all to understand. We take into consideration the people’s concerns and we will do the best for them.”

Xavier said the last water tariff hike in Selangor took place 15 years ago. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd