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Media statement by Tony Pua Kiam Wee in Labis on Wednesday, 26th January 2011:

Dr Chua Soi Lek should disclose which state has the highest water rates in the country if not Johor and take full responsibility for the failure of the MCA state executive councillor in-charge of water services, Tan Kok Hong to protect the interest of Johoreans

In a Bernama report yesterday, Dr Chua Soi Lek denied the fact that the water tariffs in Johor were the highest in the country.

However, it is odd that he did not at the same time specify which state actually has a higher tariff than Johor in the country. If the MCA president is convinced that Johor doesn't have the highest water rates, then it should be very easy for him to quote the state(s) with higher tariffs than Johor.

The fact of the matter is that Johor has the highest water tariffs with the first 20m3 of water being charged today at RM0.60 per m3 after a hike of 59% in 2010.

Selangor charges RM0.57 per m3 of water for the first 20m3. Despite being lower than Johor's new rates, the Pakatan Rakyat government has offered 20m3 of water free monthly to every household in the state. Penang on the other hand charges on RM0.22 per m3 or nearly 3 times cheaper than in Johor.

In fact if a household were to use 40m3 of water, they would be paying RM2.96 per m3 or 63% higher than the previous rate of RM1.82 per m3.

Hence Dr Chua should take to task the MCA state executive councillor for International Trade and Industry, Energy, Water, Communications and Environment, Tan Kok Hong for failing to protect the interest of Johoreans by allowing the steepest possible increase in water tariffs in the state.

Tan Kok Hong and the state government must be taken to task for colluding with Syarikat Air Johor (SAJ) to enable the latter to make exorbitant profits at the expense of the rakyat. MCA must explain to the people why SAJ was allowed to make the price increase despite the fact that the Federal Government has taken over most of the cost and assets of SAJ as part of the water restructuring exercise.

Dr Chua must not belittle the intelligence of Johoreans by claiming that the steep increase in water rates will only marginally affect the livelihood of the ordinary man-in-the-street. Instead he must tell Johoreans how he plans to convince Barisan Nasional to check the increase in prices and improve the livelihood of the people.

* Tony Pua Kiam Wee, DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara



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