KLANG, 22 FEB: The Selangor State Government will not increase water tariffs for five years after the acquisition of water services from the concessionaires.
According to the Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, this is because the RM9.65 billion payment which will be made out to shareholders of the Selangor Water Supply Company (Syabas – Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor) is from a government fund of tax revenue collected from the people.
The State Government’s stand on this matter is clearly against Syabas’ stance of being eager to raise the water tariffs to a point that the company filed a suit against the State Government for restricting the increase of water tariff as per the 2004 water privatisation agreement.
According to Abdul Khalid, the RM9.65 billion offer made by the State Government to Syabas was done on behalf of the people of Selangor who clearly wants the water management rights to be returned to them.
“Yesterday, I offered RM9.65 billion, it proves that should they not accept this, it means that they do not trust the people, they are cheating the people because the RM9.65 billion which we are paying, they would profit from it and not (incur) losses.
“We will be able to determine the price of water within the next five years will not go up because the people have already paid for the price of water (in the takeover),” said Abdul Khalid in front of almost 7,000 attendees at the People’s Tour (Jelajah Rakyat) talks here at Sri Andalas.
Abdul Khalid also said State Government will never pay RM400,000 a month to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as currently enjoyed by Syabas CEO, Tan Sri Rozali Ismail.
Previously on the issue of water tariff hikes, Selangorkini reported that in the 2004 water privatisation agreement, Syabas was allowed to increase water tariffs by 37 percent in 2009 and 25 percent in 2012.
The agreement, if executed, will altogether cause a consumer to pay RM18.80 for every 20 cubic metres of water per month, while under the State Government’s free water scheme, consumers in Selangor do not have anything for the same amount.
However, the State Government will block the increase of water tariff because Syabas did not meet the terms of the agreement to reduce non-revenue water (NRW), which is water lost due to theft of leakages, by 19.98 percent.
In response to the State Government’s act to block the increase, because Syabas prioritises profits compared to the interest of the people, they responded by filing a suit against the State Government for a RM1.05 billion compensation.
In addition, in the 2004 water privatisation agreement, Syabas was also allowed to raise water tariffs by 20 percent in 2015 and 10 percent more in 2018 which will cause the people of Selangor to pay RM3.15 for every cubic meter of water in 2018.