Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Syabas: Selangor govt tied our hands

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd technical services executive director V. Subramaniam has offered to meet the Selangor government to resolve the crisis

'We warned state about looming crisis as early as 2010'

THE current water crisis in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya is because of the Selangor government's refusal to approve and implement projects to increase the production of treated water, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd technical services executive director V. Subramaniam said.

Dismissing the Selangor menteri besar's allegation that Syabas had not performed according to the concession agreement, he said the shortfall was because the state government did not want to issue the development order for the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant.

"It is a baseless accusation and not true at all," he said here yesterday.

Subramaniam said numerous notices have been sent to the Selangor government on the impending water crisis, adding that Syabas had informed the board of directors and state government representatives at nine board meetings since the end of 2010.

"The responsibility of providing sufficient infrastructure to process raw water fit for consumption lies with the Selangor government as stipulated in Article in list 2, State List, Item 6 (c) of the Federal Constitution.

"Syabas is only confined to distributing the treated water produced by the treatment operators appointed by the state government," he said.

Subramaniam pointed out that the Selangor government's failure to gazette a new tariff as stipulated in the concession agreement and instruction to freeze Syabas's capital expenditure (capex) also contributed to the water crisis.

"The capex freeze rendered Syabas unable to perform works to reduce non-revenue water and hampered our initiatives to repair, upgrade and maintain water assets to increase our efficiency and provide the best service to the public.

"The failure to gazette the tariff review has resulted in Syabas incurring arrears to water treatment operators," he said.

Warning that it was too late to conduct studies now when the residents of Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur were facing water shortages, Subramaniam offered to sit down with the state government, the Federal Government and the National Water Services Commission (Span) to discuss how to solve the crisis.

He said it was confusing that Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim was oblivious to the fact that the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant, managed by Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd, a company owned by the Selangor government, was also running at 20 per cent above its design capacity.

Subramanian urged Khalid to refer to letters and reports sent by Syabas to him to understand the issue better.

"We also invite him to visit the water treatment plants to see the real situation," he said.

Span chief executive officer Datuk Teo Yen Hua said the commission had yet to receive notification from the state government on its intended takeover of Syabas.

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