Press Statement by Charles Santiago in Klang on Friday, 24th October 2008:

KTAK should issue STOP order on water disconnections during Diwali

Our Hindu friends would be celebrating Diwali on Monday. In line with the festive season I would like to call on water concessionaire, Syabas, to issue an immediate moratorium on water disconnections in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

Access to water is a fundamental human right and the government should ensure that the right is protected and promoted. Thus I call upon Kementerian Tenaga Air and Telecomunikasi (KTAK) and the Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN) to direct Syabas not to disconnect water during the festive period.

I have received numerous complaints about water disconnections in the last few days.

I would like to make an appeal to both Syabas and Tenaga Nasional Berhad not to disconnect water and electricity supplies to homes in the spirit of the forthcoming celebrations.

Water and power cuts would primarily affect the poor, vulnerable communities and those who might be unemployed as a result of job losses due to the current economic slowdown.

It is also highly insensitive to cut off water and electricity supplies during festivals and national holidays in a plural society like Malaysia.

Since privatization, we have been made aware that there are a minimum of 500 water cuts per day, bringing in a large source of revenue for Syabas. The water company earned RM 6.83 million in the first nine months in 2007 from reconnection fees.

I would like to urge Syabas and Tenaga Nasional to show greater corporate social responsibility, whereby organizations take into account the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, communities, shareholders and other stake holders.

* Charles Santiago, MP for Klang