Illegal to meddle in Selangor water issue, MB tells Putrajaya
KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 — Putrajaya’s “interference” in the Selangor water issue is unlawful, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has alleged, referring to a 2006 legislation which he says gives the state government full power over water management.
Malay daily Sinar Harian today reported the Selangor Menteri Besar as pointing out that the Water Services Industry Act, mooted and approved by the federal government in 2006, forbids the latter government from encroaching on the state’s powers.
“I think the federal government cannot do it. This is because in the constitution, water management is under the state government, but its implementation and understanding is between the two governments,” Khalid was quoted as saying in the paper.
He added that his government have also made an agreement with the federal government to resolve the water issue “in the interest of the people” and hoped Putrajaya would address the issue sincerely.
“If they keep questioning the actions of the state government based on political reasons, we will just wait until the results of the next election,” he warned.
“This is because I believe the power rests in the people to determine who is more [sic] fit to govern the state,” he added.
Khalid (picture) had reportedly made the statement yesterday in response to Selangor BN deputy chairman Datuk Noh Omar, who accused the PKR government of conducting public forums for show but failed to resolve the issue of water supply.
Noh Omar made this statement following the Selangor Water Forum, which he alleged was bias as it was attended only by state executive councillors, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs, media representatives and only a few members of the public.
Khalid said yesterday this was because the forum was considered more relevant to the people who choose less expensive means to obtain clean water.
He said Selangor water concessionaire Syabas was not invited to participate in the discussion as the company is suing the state government.
He also expressed disappointment that the Energy, Green Technology and Water ministry had also failed to attend a similar forum organised previously.
Bernama Online reported last week that the Selangor government plans to proceed with its plans to restructure the water services industry, a move that will revoke the agreement under the Water Services Industry Act 2006.
The state and federal governments, Syabas and Selangor’s other water players have been locked in a protracted dispute over the proposed restructuring of the state’s water services.
Khalid was reported as saying last week that the restructuring will proceed despite objection from the federal government and Syabas.
The Selangor government will use several approaches including tapping groundwater resources to balance the water supply needs of consumers.
Khalid said the Selangor government would also increase water tariffs once every three years and of no more than 12 per cent.
Syabas had filed an originating summons against the Selangor government and demanded RM471,642.916 compensation for failing to agree to a hike in water tariff.