Source: The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — Selangor’s private water utility cannot initiate water rationing unless directed by regulators, an industry group said today just as the state government decided to take over the water works.Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia (WECAM) secretary-general Foon Weng Lian said Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) has no such authority as they are not the water industry’s regulators.
“By doing this, Syabas is suddenly behaving as if they are the regulators of the water industry,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
WECAM’s reaction follows an announcement from Syabas on July 14 that it was asking the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) to allow an immediate water rationing exercise for areas within the Klang Valley due to the utility’s inability to maintain uninterrupted water supply to the region.
Today, Foon also expressed support for the Selangor government’s move to take over Syabas operations as announced earlier by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
“WECAM agrees with the actions of Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as this is an assessment of the state government’s rights under the concession agreement,” he said.
Foon said that with the water industry restructuring process, water services should once again come under the state government’s jurisdiction. Previous privatisation moves in Selangor had move the utility outside of the administration’s purview.
“Hopefully, after the restructuring process, the government can conduct an asset light model with the state itself managing operations. Hopefully, they can revoke concession agreements and promote reform in the industry,” said Foon.
Earlier today Khalid announced that the Selangor state government will invoke Clause 32 of the concessions agreement to step in and take over operations currently handled by Syabas, with consent from the federal government.
Khalid also added that Selangor was prepared to take the matter to court if the federal government blocks the move.