Rafizi: Syabas, Puncak Niaga Should Spend Money on Solving Water Problem, Not a Lawsuit

SHAH ALAM, 21 Feb: The water management company in Selangor (Syabas) has been advised to change the filtration system in all plants that are not functioning well rather than use the money to sue critics.

The Member of Parliament for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli, said that Syabas and Puncak Niaga (and its owners) are seen as being superficial when they are willing to waste money paying lawyers to sue people’s representatives like him.

He said that he would continue to voice opposition towards any party that is seen as not placing public interests as the number one priority in ensuring good water supply to the people.


“If it means that I would face legal action, this is not the first time I have been dragged to court for voicing out on public interest issues.

“Only Syabas and Puncak Niaga are willing to waste money in paying lawyers to sue representatives of the people like me, when the money is better used to change the filtration system in plants so that failure, which caused the closure of two water treatment plants in Batu 11 Cheras and Bukit Tampoi, can be avoided in the future,” he said in a press statement.

Syabas decided to take legal action following Rafizi’s statement on Monday about the water supply disruption that occurred, affecting 100,000 houses in the Klang Valley.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Rafizi said that it has become Syabas or Puncak Niaga to file a lawsuit every time there is criticism on their performance as companies that monopolises the water supply in the Klang Valley.

He said that as an elected representative, he has taken various steps to highlight the dissatisfaction of residents who often become victims of water supply disruptions, especially in Pandan.

“This includes collecting protest signatures, taking the case of Syabas’ failure to the Consumer Claims Tribunal Malaysia, and taking the issue to be debated in Parliament.

“This also includes suggesting to the state government to provide emergency water supply when there are disruptions and discuss with Syabas’ own staff to help the people,” he said.

However, Rafizi said, all these measures, be it cooperating or facing Syabas, in no way improves the performance of the water supply.

“Therefore, it is my duty to continue to criticise Syabas’ performance because of their weaknesses in planning and operations.

For the recent disruption, Rafizi said that he cannot accept the excuse that the two plants, the Batu 11 Cheras and Bukit Tampoi water treatment plants, have been closed because the ammonia content in the river water has exceeded the processing capacity allowed in the two plants.

This is because if the plants were upgraded earlier, it could handle river water with higher ammonia content.

Through early inspection, he found that the two plants can only process river water with a maximum ammonia content of 1.5mg/litre.

At the same time, treated water residue from sewage systems released into rivers by Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) have higher ammonia content because the standard allows for a maximum of 15mg/litre or 25mg/litre (depending on the location of the river).

This means that water filtration plant operators, such a s Puncak Niaga, know that there is a possibility that the ammonia content in the river is high, especially during hot weather due to lack of rain.

As weather forecasts can be obtained, water treatment plant operators such as Puncak Niaga, should be able to expect a period where the ammonia content in the river will be higher and could affect the water supply.

“The question I am posing is why was there no proactive action previously by Puncak Niaga (and Syabas, because they are both controlled by the same interests) to upgrade the existing water treatment plants so that all these WTPs could take in river water with higher ammonia content from 1.5mg/litre, because it is possible,” asked Rafizi.

He understands that Puncak Niaga has already agreed to install a filtering system using Sodium Aluminosilicate, which costs RM million, which is expected to increase the capacity of both the WTPs in processing water with higher ammonia content than 1.5mg/litre.

The problem is that the installation of the new filter system will take over six months from now and will not solve the current water supply problem.

“If this action was taken sooner, taking into account the weather forecast, the current water shortage troubling the people in Selangor could have been avoided?” asked Rafizi.

“That is why I have criticised Syabas and Puncak Niaga’s shortcomings in planning for not being able to anticipate in advance the need to replace the filter system to the Sodium Aluminosilicate system, which if carried out earlier, would avoid the water supply problem currently faces,” he said.

He said that short-term actions, such as using water ponds near Sungai Langat to dilute the river water used by the Bukit Tampoi WTP needs to be implemented immediately as its cost is only around RM360,000 per month.

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