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‘Syabas a national security threat’

 | July 18, 2012

Tony Pua says there is enough water for Selangor consumers and accuses the concessionaire of holding the public to ransom with its call for rationing.

PETALING JAYA: Syabas is holding the public to ransom with its threat to ration water, DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said today.

Reiterating the Selangor government’s declaration that there was no water shortage in the state, he said the water concessionaire had, by its “fear mongering”, exposed itself as a national security threat.

“Visits by Selangor executive committee members Ronnie Liu and Dr Xavier Jeyakumar to the various dams across the state yesterday proved that the dams are full and there is no shortage of raw water,” he said in a press statement.

Syabas officially admitted yesterday that there was no shortage of raw water, but in a statement that Pua characterised as “goal shifting”, claimed that the state was short of treated water.

“This is essentially an admission that the Syabas treatment plants are either operating inefficiently or there is not enough treatment plant capacity at existing water reservoirs,” Pua said.

He noted that Syabas had been lobbying for the new Langat 2 treatment plant to be built.

According to the concessionaire’s plan, the new plant, if approved, would be ready only by 2014 at the earliest.

Even then, Pua said, the plant would treat water sourced expensively from Pahang instead of from existing supplies. Hence, Langat 2 was not necessary, he added.

“Instead, what is needed is a thorough review of the existing water treatment plants operated by… Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Pengeluaran Air Sungai Selangor Holdings (SPLASH) and Konsortium ABASS.

“Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has already promised to build additional capacities at the existing treatment plants, and these measures will take less than a year to complete.”

Pua, the MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, said Syabas’ threat was a ruse to frighten the seven million water consumers in Selangor into forcing the state to give its approval for the Langat 2 project.

“It is a fear-mongering tactic used by Syabas, which is 70% owned by Puncak Niaga, firstly to help Barisan Nasional win Selangor in the next general election in order to perpetuate their control over water rights in the state.

“Secondly, it is an excuse to try and force the state government to agree to the RM3.94 billion Langat 2 project to source raw water from Pahang, which is much more expensive than the existing raw water as well as other available means.”

The Selangor government has refused to permit Langat 2, claiming that it is unnecessary in view of “overflowing dams” in the state. Furthermore, state officials have said, it would raise the cost of water to consumers.

Pua said the privatisation of Syabas had resulted in the interest of the people of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya being severely compromised.

“Syabas can now act with impunity to threaten the security of the nation by holding the people and the state government to ransom,” he said, adding that the federal water authority must deal with it with the “utmost urgency and without compromise”.

“We call upon the federal government and Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN) to immediately censure Syabas for unilaterally threatening water rationing without prior consultation… with the Selangor state government and other relevant authorities.”

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