Thursday February 14, 2013
Water war spills onto Selangor streets
By MARTIN CARVALHO and A. RUBAN
PETALING JAYA: The “water war” between Syabas and the Selangor Government has been dragged onto the streets with booklets containing point-by-point rebuttals of the state leaders’ explanation being distributed.
Titled Selangor Water Crisis! – Don’t Get Misled – Get The Facts, but without attribution to any source, the eight-page A4-sized coloured booklet were seen in several public areas.
Syabas corporate communication and public affairs general manager Priscilla Alfred denied that the water company was behind the booklet.
Several prominent figures in Selangor were named in the booklet, which rebutted 15 allegations over the unscheduled water supply disruption in the Klang Valley due to the failure of the Wangsa Maju pumping station.
The massive disruption reportedly affected about 500,000 people in Gombak and Kuala Lumpur when the pumphouse broke down on Dec 29 and again on Jan 1, prompting Syabas to make remedial works and declaring the crisis over by Jan 18.
Two days later, Syabas placed full-page advertisements in major newspapers to rebut Selangor’s claims over the water crisis.
Those named in the booklet were Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, state executive councillor Xavier Jayakumar, Ampang MP Zuraidah Kamaruddin and Teratai assemblywoman Janice Lee.
Priscilla said: “We will be placing several more advertorials next week.”
She said the distribution of the booklet was not an isolated incident.
“We were alerted that two-page flyers with similar wordings were also being distributed.
“We believe some of the materials were taken from our earlier advertorial.”
In SHAH ALAM, Khalid said the state government had decided on the amount it would offer to buy over Syabas’ water assets.
He, however, declined to give details on the offer, expected to be made public next week.
Khalid said he would ask the central government to speed up the process.
“I have written to Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui about the state’s intention to restructure the state water industry but there has been no reply,” Khalid said. “Therefore, I will inform him again because this is not a normal takeover. It involves three parties (Syabas, the Federal Government and the state),” Khalid said after chairing the state exco meeting yesterday.
In 2009, the state government made a bid of RM5.7bil but was rejected by water concessionaries.
A subsequent offer of RM9.2bil was made last year and rejected by Puncak Niaga and Syabas.
Meanwhile, Khalid said a meeting among Pakatan Rakyat leaders this week would discuss the dissolution of the Selangor legislative assembly.
The Mentri Besar had earlier said the state assembly would be dissolved after Chap Goh Mei, which falls on Feb 24, even if the Federal Government had still not called for elections.