Is Selangor deliberately delaying restructure of its water industry?

NORRASYIDAH ARSHAD

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor state government has been accused of deliberately delaying the issue of restructuring the state’s water industry because they do not want to make payments to the Federal Government or Water Asset Management Company (PAAB).

Selangor Umno Liaison Committee chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar said the move to delay the operations of the company's water treatment company, Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH), provided an opportunity for the state to continue taking water without paying for it.

This, he said, shows that the state government wants to continue taking advantage for as long as the agreement is not signed.

“As long as the SPLASH takeover is not completed, the state government has the opportunity to not pay all its necessary dues.

"Today, we see the state government collecting water, collecting bills. By rights, the Federal Government’s investment should be paid back by the state government, but that is not the case.

“In my opinion, this is deliberately delayed because the state government does not want to pay, but this tactic will hurt the rakyat and the state itself," he said, when attending the closing ceremony of the Selangor education convention (KASIH) today.

Noh, who is also Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, said the Selangor government, under the leadership of Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, continues to blame the Federal Government for the state’s water woes, when it is clear that it originates from the delay in restructuring the state’s water industry.

He said Mohamed Azmin is also seen as trying to foil plans made by former Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim in developing the state.

“Mohamed Azmin appears to be reluctant to continue past efforts initiated by Khalid, not just over the water issue but also on the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) project,” he said.

At the same time, Noh also challenged Mohamed Azmin to raise any issue related to water in the Dewan Rakyat, given that proceedings are ongoing.

“If he is unhappy over anything, he can ask away in Parliament. Don’t just talk outside, ask the minister,” he said.

On Tuesday, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, had said that the government is studying all legal aspects, including the Water Services Industry Act 2005 (Act 655) in its bid to resolve the water crisis in the opposition state. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd