stressed that the water disruption was
not due to an inadequate water supply
but rather maintenance work by Syabas."
Syabas said the protracted dispute over the restructuring of Selangor’s water industry made it difficult for the firm to invest in solutions to redistribute supply from other plants to areas affected by cut.
However, Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong stressed that the water disruption was not due to an inadequate water supply but rather maintenance work by Syabas.
She added that the water level at the state’s water dams still remain high.
“The statement made by Syabas blaming the water restructuring negotiations is not accurate since the privatisation of water began in 1997 and Syabas has not carried out upgrading works of water treatment plants,” she told reporters during a press conference here.
Elizabeth also asked the Ministry of Energy, Water and Green Technology to review the efficiency and ability of Syabas in managing the state’s water supply.
Syabas announced the cut yesterday affecting Kuala Lumpur as well as the Gombak, Petaling and Hulu Selangor districts where residents have had to stock up on water in anticipation of the long supply cut that will only be restored on Friday.
Both state and federal governments have been locked in a struggle over water assets in Selangor since Pakatan Rakyat (PR) took control of the state in 2008, with neither side wanting to cede control to the other over the critical industry.
The state government had made an offer of RM9 billion for the assets of the concessionaires but the group had rejected it, calling the offer “ambiguous.”
The national water industry restructuring scheme has been delayed by a dispute over the price of the privatised assets in Selangor, which also provide water to the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
Selangor made the RM9 billion combined offer to the four water concessionaires in Selangor — Puncak Niaga (M) Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd (ABASS) and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash).
Selangor, which already owns 80 per cent of the state’s water supply assets, is preparing to take over the remaining assets after Putrajaya said it did not object to direct negotiations between the state government and concessionaires.
Selangor intends to retain management of the water assets, which also cover the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. A project to obtain water from Pahang has also been delayed due to the issue.
The state government has made two previous offers for the water assets. The first offer — RM5.7 billion for assets and equity — was turned down by all four players, while the second RM9.4 billion offer — this time including liabilities — was rejected by Syabas and sister company PNSB.
Control of Selangor’s water assets is important to PR so it can set tariffs and fulfil its campaign promise of free water for all residents in the state.