Thursday January 31, 2013
Tajol Rosli: Five states yet to ink deals may lose out on loans
By SARBAN SINGH
SEREMBAN: Five states in the peninsula, which have yet to enter into agreements with the Water Asset Management Company (PAAB) to manage their water resources and infrastructure, may not be given loans in future.
PAAB chairman Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali said the company had to get strict as it wanted to achieve its mandate to be the nation’s water assets owner and manager under the National Water Services Industry Restructuring Initiative.
The states involved are Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu, Selangor and Kedah.
“All states, be it under Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, must migrate to the new system,” Tajol Rosli said.
“This is important because, with the exception of Terengganu, the other states, which have yet to enter into agreements with us, will surely face water-related problems not too long from now,” he said at a signing ceremony between PAAB and the Negri Sembilan government following the completion of phase 2 of water-related projects here.
Under the deal with the respective states, PAAB will take over their water liability and debts from the Federal Government and subsequently lease back the water assets to the states at an agreed rate.
PAAB had targeted to conclude the water restructuring deals with the remaining five states by the end of the year.
Tajol Rosli said, without financial assistance from the PAAB, none of the states had the capability to fund their water projects, which included the construction of dams, treatment plants and laying of new pipes.
“We have spoken to the respective governments several times but have yet to receive favourable response from them.
“We hope they will agree quickly because in the water industry, you need to plan years ahead to prevent water cuts or shortages,” he said.
Citing an example, he said if the Selangor Government refused to cooperate in the construction of the Langat 2 dam, the people in the state, as well as consumers in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, would face serious problems by 2016.
“When that happens, they will face massive problems and even if they were to buy all the treated water in Negri Sembilan, the amount will be insufficient,” he warned.
Tajol Rosli said PAAB was also satisfied with the progress of water-related projects in Negri Sembilan, the first state to enter into an agreement with the body in 2007.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, meanwhile, said by the third quarter of this year, the state would already have excess treated water and that Selangor had made enquiries about buying water from the state.
“We are grateful to the Federal Government for agreeing to take over our debts on water-related projects,” he said. “Without the help, it would have been impossible for us to do so.”