Source: Selangor Times
Published: Fri, 27 Jul 2012SUBANG JAYA: Selangor’s intention to take over water assets from Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) is aimed at preventing a rise in prices.
“In peninsular Malaysia, there are only two states where water has been privatised… Johor and Selangor (which are) number one and two respectively in terms of water tariffs,” said Tony Pua.
The Petaling Jaya Utara member of Parliament criticised the privatisation of water management at a talk in SS15 on Wednesday.
|Santiago (right) and Abdul Halim (left) at the Syabas headquarters. Inset: Pua.|
He said privatisation would be open to abuse and private companies would charge as high as possible to maximise profits. “That’s why water tariffs are highest in states where water has been privatised,” he said.
Pua explained that in 2010, tariffs increased in Johor by up to 60 percent, while in Selangor, rates would have gone up by 37 percent in 2009 and 25 percent this year.
However, the increase in prices in Selangor was blocked by the state. He added that for the first 20m3 used a month, water users in Selangor pay 52 sen per m3 while those in Penang pay 22 sen.
Those using 35 m3 of water per month in Selangor will have to pay RM2 per m3, while those using the same amount in Penang will only have to pay 42 sen per m3.
“In Penang, they sell (water) so cheap, no subsidy from the state government, every single year Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang makes a minimum of RM20 million,” Pua said.
He asked why, despite Syabas charging consumers comparatively high prices, the water concessionaire could not make money and still wanted to raise tariffs further.
“That’s the reason why Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (Menteri Besar) is so adamant about taking back control of water assets,” he added.
Klang member of Parliament Charles Santiago is also urging Syabas to prove that there is a water crisis in Selangor by answering seven questions.
The questions include the amount of water which flowed from dams to pump stations and to treatment plants, and meter readings for water provided to consumers. “Also what is Syabas’ electricity bill and amount of chemicals used from Jan 1, 2012 to July 15, 2012?” he asked.
He had earlier submitted a memorandum, which included the questions, to Syabas headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. He was accompanied by Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general Abdul Halim Mansor. Santiago urged Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, as head of the cabinet committee which was set up on July 18 to tackle the water issue, to instruct Syabas to answer the questions.