Uncertainty hits hundreds of Selangor projects after water denial
SHAH ALAM, Aug 7 — Manufacturers and developers in Selangor are complaining that they have been left high and dry after being denied water service from the state’s sole water distribution company and say that the ongoing uncertainty could have an economic fallout.
This comes after the power struggle between Selangor and the state government over the state’s water assets resurfaced recently with another round of finger pointing on both sides over who is responsible for the current impasse on the restructuring of the critical water industry in the state.
Businesses said at a forum organised by Selangor today that the uncertainty of not having water could have significant repercussions and in some cases have cost money to their respective companies.
A representative from rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove said Syabas rejected its application for water to be connected to its new headquarters.
“The repercussions to the state are obvious,” he said. “The effect (of water shortage) on businesses in Selangor will be severe.”
According to Nor Azme Diron, who is deputy director of the Selangor state economic planning unit, 234 projects have had their applications for water service “postponed” by Syabas.
No officials from Syabas were available to respond at the forum.
A representative from consumer goods manufacturer F&N said it suffered a five-day period with no water at its new RM300 million factory in Pulau Indah, a shortage which had cost the company “a lot”.
He noted that the company continues to use its factory in Petaling Jaya because Syabas was able to supply water to the older location although it was not able to supply to Pulau Indah.
“Pulau Indah is very crucial,” he said.
An assistant manager from the Mewah group, which also has a factory in Pulau Indah, said its previously approved application for water for its expanded factory there was cancelled in July.
“Our construction is ongoing,” he lamented.
One developer said he had “quite a number” of applications for water rejected by Syabas.
“As developers we feel jittery,” he said. “We are in a dilemma. Once we commit to deliver and if there is no water once a project is completed, we will be in deep trouble.”
“We are unsure what to do,” he added.
Selangor state officials maintain however that there is no need for water rationing as there is sufficient supply of treated water and a special water committee has been formed by the state that meets with Syabas daily to resolve disputes and issues.
Nor Azme noted that usage was currently well below Syabas’ distributive capacity — at 2,944 million litres per day (MLD) versus 4.34 MLD respectively.
The “gap” of 1.34 MLD or 32 per cent of the total was either wasted water through leakage or stolen water.
He said that several mitigation projects such as boosting capacity at the Sungai Labu treatment plant were currently under way.
Pakatan Rakyat, which helms the state, has accused the Barisan Nasional federal goverment of “manufacturing” a water crisis.
Observers however have said that the current stalemate was due to politics, with neither side willing to budge.
Selangor state executive councillor Teresa Kok said today that there has still been no response from the federal government, which has its own committee to look into the issue, to overtures made by the state to return to the bargaining table.
“The people and industries are facing problems,” she told reporters. “We urge the deputy prime minister (who chairs the federal committee) to sit down with Selangor.”
She also said that it was not that the state was opposed to the Langat 2 treatment plant per se, but the plant had to be part of a holistic restructuring of the state’s water industry.
Selangor is Malaysia’s richest and most developed state.
A lack of progress on restructuring the water industry could not only hit the state’s residents and industries but also that of the nation’s capital Kuala Lumpur which is also covered by Syabas.