New Straits Times
‘CRITICISM OF STATE GOVT JUSTIFIED’
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