No water tariff hike in Selangor, KL, Putrajaya for now

Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari says the water tariffs issue has been answered repeatedly by his predecessor. (Facebook pic)

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor government says that the water tariffs in the state, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya will not be raised for now but future rates will depend on its ability to absorb the rising cost of producing clean water.

“At the moment there is no (water tariff) hike and we will continue the free water programme that cost RM180 million a year although it did increase many times since its inception (in June 2008) at about RM70 million a year.

“Nevertheless, we are acting according to the state’s current capability and at the moment, we are still able to (bear the costs) even though we have implemented many other programmes to benefit the people,” Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said after an event in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidiladha today.

He was responding to a statement by former Selangor menteri besar, Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, yesterday claiming that consumers in these three areas would be saddled with high water tariffs following the acquisition of Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor (SPLASH) by state-owned water company Pengurusan Air Selangor (Air Selangor) for RM2.55 billion, last Friday.

Amirudin explained that SPLASH’s purchase value was also relevant because it was based on the expected appropriate price determined by the international independent appraisal body appointed by the state government.

“This (water tariffs) matter has been answered repeatedly by Mohamed Azmin Ali (during his time as menteri besar) in the state assembly sittings and you need to understand its chronology from the beginning. We buy and take over based on ‘willing seller and willing buyer’ concept,” he said.

Meanwhile, when asked about Malaysia Today’s blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s claim that PKR received RM500 million “buyout” from the acquisition, Amirudin said: “Allegations without proof are irresponsible.”

He stressed that the state government had been holding negotiations and meetings for a year with Air Selangor to get the value for the purchase.

The acquisition of SPLASH at RM2.55 billion would settle the outstanding debt incurred by Air Selangor subsidiary, Syabas, to SPLASH for the purchase of treated water which has reached RM4.7 billion as at June 30.

Air Selangor will pay in instalments for a period of nine years in order to take over the company, SPLASH.