GEORGE TOWN: Penang has shot down the Kedah menteri besar’s demand for RM50 million a year demand as compensation for drawing water from Sungai Muda, a river that flows from the eastern hinterlands of Kedah and empties into Penang’s territory in the west.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said he had received letters of demand from the Kedah government but said Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor should instead ask for compensation from Putrajaya, as raw water matters were under the federal government.
Chow also said Penang would continue to draw water from its side of Sungai Muda as international conventions allow it to do so.
Sanusi had made the RM50 million demand after claiming that the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA) has been raking in profits by drawing water from the river, asking the company to pay 10 sen per cubic metre.
PBA said it owed no one money as it was taking water from Penang’s side of the river near Butterworth.
Chow, who is PBA chairman, however told a press conference: “We will support Kedah in its efforts to claim for compensation arising from the cancellation of logging licences at the water catchment area at the Ulu Muda forest reserve.”
Yesterday, Sanusi said he was upset with the barrage of negative comments from Penang over its planned RM62 billion rare earth elements venture, which included the Ulu Muda forest reserve and two other rural areas, saying the state should mind its own business.
He slammed PBA for carrying out trips into the forest reserve repeatedly, saying it was encroaching into the “sovereignty of Kedah”.
In response, Chow said Sanusi’s statement was irresponsible, as Malaysians are allowed to crossover to any part of the states – be it on land or over water.
“If that is the case, are you saying I can stop the MB on his way to Kuala Lumpur if he enters Penang territory?” he asked.