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Government must prove that Syabas has fully fulfilled their contractual requirements before continue with the enforcement of the 15% water tariff hike


Media Statement

by Lau Weng San

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Minister of Energy, Telecommunication and Water, Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik announced that water tariff in KL, Putrajaya and Selangor will face another hike of 15% maximum in which the date of enforcement will be announced by the Selangor State Government.

An announcement of such at times when the economics is not performing will certainly push the inflation, especially in Klang Valley, to another height in which this will make the people suffers more. Though the Minister said that users with monthly consumption less than 20m3 will not be affected by the hike but we must bear in mind that water is a necessity for human life and thus it is a very important public utility. Water tariff hike will irreversibly push up the operating costs of any trader who depends on water to run their daily business operation. Eventually, it is the consumers and the general public who will bear the higher operation cost.


Being a consumer and customer of Syabas, water users in KL and Selangor must push the Federal and Selangor State Government to provide strong proof to prove that water quality has been improved under the management of Syabas, before the authority can ever approve any water tariff hike.


After all, it was the Minister himself who told the press after a briefing held in brief MPs in the Parliament on 16th January 2005 that he himself guaranteed that water tariff will not be increased in at least twelve months after the Federal Government took over the water management from each state. What happened to the Minister’s pledge now? How does the government come out with the conclusion that ‘42% of the users are unaffected as their monthly usage is less than 20m3’? Is there any credibility, accountability and integrity in this figure? Can the Minister himself also reveal the exact calculation and methodology to reach such figure?


The Minister also said that the hike is justified as Syabas managed to reduce Non Revenue Water (NRW) from 42% in 2004 to 37% in 2006. Syabas’ profit also shows a hike from RM900 million to RM1.1 billion, it is mind-boggling that Syabas will still have to increase water tariff to clear their debt when profit is up and NRW is significantly reduced? Can the Minister himself come out with figures and calculations on how this conclusion is reached? What would be the profit level for Syabas if it were not to increase the water tariff to clear it’s debts?


When Syabas took over the water management from PUAS two years ago, Syabas has already engaged in a planning to replace water pipelines of 12,000 km length in 30 years which will cost RM11.7 billion and the project must be contracted out through open-tender system. The first phase of the project which costs RM 150 million has already commenced on 1st January 2005 in which the project mainly focused on the replacement of 500 km water pipeline out of a total of 4400km of water pipeline in Klang Valley. We need to know the progress of all these key questions before a hike of 15% maximum can be approved without greater public scrutiny.


* Lau Weng San, DAP Selangor Publicity Secretary

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