Monday, May 12, 2014

Be part of the solution, Yeo tells Khairy

DAP's Damansara Utama state assemblyperson Yeo Bee Yin has urged Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to be part of the solution after a back and forth argument on the Selangor water crisis.

"If Khairy is really sincere about solving Selangor water problems instead of getting into endless rebuttals to lay blame on Selangor government, I have four practical suggestions for him as a cabinet member," she said in a statement today.

Firstly, Yeo (right) said Khairy should convince his colleague in the cabinet, Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to approve Selangor's application to use Thailand's Royal Rainmaker Technology for cloud seeding as it uses ejectable flare.

"Secondly, in order for the public to have fair assessment on the water issues without the politicians interpreting them biasedly, I suggest Khairy to push for the declassification of water concession agreements, which are still hidden under Official Secrets Act," she said.

Yeo said the information is necessary to justify if it was logical for the state government to block a water tariff hike of 37 percent in 2009, 25 percent in 2012 and 15 percent in 2015 by Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) for not sufficiently reducing non-revenue water (NRW).

Khairy, in his rebuttal to Yeo's defence of Selangor's handling of the water issue on Tuesday, had blamed the state's blocking of the water tariff hike for the Syabas failure to sufficiently reduce NRW as it was deprived of funds.

'Let the public decide'

Furthermore, Yeo asked Khairy, who is also BN Youth chief, to push the cabinet to declassify the national audit report on Syabas.

"The public can judge for themselves whether the money injected by the federal government into Syabas in the name of reducing NRW was indeed used for that purpose or is it used for non-water related expenses such as luxury cars, offices and big fat pay for the non-performers," she said.

Fourthly, Yeo said Khairy (left) should stand firm in the cabinet so that Putrajaya will not approve any financial assistance to the water concessionaires until the water takeover deal is completed.

"The only way for the water concessionaires to assess the takeover option more realistically is for them to face with their real financial situations without the luxury of federal bailouts as they have always been entitled to," she said.

The Selangor government had attempted to take over the state's water assets from concessionaires for RM9.65 billion.

However, only Selangor subsidiary Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd accepted the offer while Syabas and its parent company Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB) as well as Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash) rejected the offer.

The federal government had since intervened in the stalemate as Selangor nudges Putrajaya to invoke Section 114 of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 that will allow a takeover of the water assets similar to a nationalisation process.

Precarious water situation

Amid the takeover bid, Selangor was hit with water rationing for two months after the Sungai Selangor dam which supplies water to 60 percent of Klang Valley fell to a critical level.

The rationing was lifted this month after the state government began pumping water from old mining ponds into Sungai Selangor to reduce the strain of the Sungai Selangor dam which still stands at only 41.22 percent as of today. The safe level is 55 percent.

"We really can’t afford further delay in water restructuring. The water concessionaires, federal and state governments urgently need to reach a consensus soon so we can start water restructuring for the long-term benefits of the people of Selangor,” said Yeo.

"And in the face of the looming drought, Selangor state government must take all necessary measures and precaution steps to ensure that we have sufficient water to sustain us through the dry season.”