MCA urges Penang govt not to increase water rates

Penang MCA’s Ooi Teik Liang (second from left) handing over a memorandum to state government information officer Danny Ooi (second from right) at Komtar today.

GEORGE TOWN: MCA has criticised the Penang government’s move to raise water tariff in the state, and warned that it would have a domino effect on prices of goods.

State MCA spokesman Ooi Teik Liang said while Penang enjoys the lowest water bills in the country at an average of RM5.55, the impending 20% hike would burden those already facing economic hardship.

“All goods will be more expensive. With things already so expensive today, why make us suffer more? Don’t they know that most Penangites are paying a lot for many things?” Ooi told reporters today.

“We wonder where is the chief minister’s conscience in announcing water price hikes just like that, it is very bad timing,” Ooi said.

He said three out of 10 Malaysians were in heavy debt as reported by the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK).

Ooi was among a group of MCA members who handed over a memorandum to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at his office in Komtar today.

The party urged the state to postpone the price increase pending a study.

Penang Umno chief Musa Sheikh Fadzir agreed with Ooi.

Musa said as the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA) was doing well financially, the state should not arbitrarily increase water rates.

“The state should be focusing on how to reduce peoples’ burden, not burden them further with higher water bills.”

Penang said it would raise water prices between 10% and 20%.

This was after Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar said water prices in the country should be revised upwards to “protect” consumers’ interests and ensure that the industry’s services continued.

The move got the support of Water Watch Penang, a water interest group, saying it would prevent wastage and encourage conservation.