New Straits Times


What was reported is based on facts, says minister


THE criticism levelled at the Selangor government over its ongoing water supply crisis is justified, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili yesterday.

However, he declined to elaborate on the issue, which came about following the refusal of the PKR-led Selangor government to finalise the state’s water restructur­ing exercise with the Federal Government.

“I do not want to comment anymore than what has been discussed. Wait until the winding-up (in the Dewan Rakyat), only then will I answer.

“However, what was reported (regarding the water supply crisis and water restructur­ing exercise in Selangor) is based on facts. Since the Selangor government has not offered its take on the matter, I do not wish to comment further,” he said at the Parliament lobby here yesterday.

Ongkili was commenting on reports by the New Sunday Times and BH Ahad, that the Selangor government was using allocation­s provided by the Federal Government to provide free water to Selangor folk, instead of using it to restructur­e its water industry.

The failure by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to finalise the agreement has led to the stalling of initiative­s, such as upgrading of assets and infrastruc­ture, which has resulted in frequent water supply disruption­s.

It was also reported that despite being the country’s most developed state, Selangor’s water-reserve margin pales in comparison with other states. Its margin of four per cent, compared with a healthy margin of between 15 and 20 per cent, means more areas will be affected if there is a water supply disruption.

On the Federal Territorie­s Ministry’s proposal to set up its own Water Department to manage the supply in Putrajaya and here, Ongkili said the matter was at the discussion stage.

He, however, acknowledg­ed that there was a need to turn it into a reality, given that Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya depend on Selangor for their water supply, and that the opposition-held state’s water crisis had affected the two areas.

“This proposal has been discussed but we need to ensure that it is in accordance with regulation­s and Act 665 (of the Water Services Industry Act 2006).

“Among the outstandin­g issues are pipes, infrastruc­ture and water supply included in existing concession­aires under the Selangor government, which are beset by problems.

“But, if they want to take water directly from Putrajaya and manage it as an additional aspect to the existing water supply, then yes, it can be considered.”

Ongkili said the Federal Territorie­s Ministry could use undergroun­d water sources, rainwater filtration, as well as mining pools, given that there were numerous raw water sources in Selangor.

“We have to establish the amount of water needed by Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. However, the idea has merit.”

On Sunday, Federal Territorie­s Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the ministry had submitted a proposal to the cabinet for the Federal Territorie­s to have its own watermanag­ement body.

He said it was awaiting approval from the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry for the establishm­ent of the Federal Territorie­s Water Department.

Tengku Adnan had said that based on the ministry’s study, lakes and existing technology in Putrajaya were capable of supplying water to Kuala Lumpur, adding that this would reduce its dependency on water supply from Selangor. Additional reporting by Luqman Arif Abdul Karim, Ahmad Suhael Adnan and Arfa Yunus

 ??  ?? The front page of the ‘New Sunday Times’ on Selangor’s water supply situation.
The front page of the ‘New Sunday Times’ on Selangor’s water supply situation.
 ??  ?? Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili
Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili

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