Azmin: State should operate water assets

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SHAH ALAM: The federal government should grant the Selangor government the concession to operate and maintain the dam and water treatment plants in Selangor, said Menteri Besar Mohd Azmin Ali.

“If we were to surrender all water assets in the state to the federal government, the assets would be managed by PAAB (Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd). Hence, the state would have no control over the water industry eventually as PAAB is not owned by the state,” Mohd Azmin said during the Selangor legislative assembly sitting yesterday in answer to a question by Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim. 

Mohd Azmin also pointed out that Selangor would not surrender all water treatment plants to the federal government as the master water agreement signed between the federal and Selangor governments in September last year did not require the state to do so.

He said that under the master agreement, which lapsed on March 9, the state was only required to transfer four water assets to the federal government for RM2 billion, adding that the sum was to help to offset Selangor’s cost of taking over the four concessionaires. 

The four assets are Sungai Langat, Sungai Selangor Phase 1 (SSP1), Bukit Nenas and Sungai Semenyih, he noted.

Mohd Azmin also reiterated that the master agreement excluded the land on which these assets are located. He claimed that the federal government went against the terms in the master agreement on Feb 16, asking for both the water assets and land to be surrendered.

“It (the federal government) further said that all water assets within Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya should be part of their assets,” he said. 

According to Mohd Azmin, the master agreement states clearly that the water assets valued at RM14.9 billion only pertain to pipes, water treatment plants, reservoirs and pump stations.

Mohd Azmin also claimed that Putrajaya had asked for the ownership of 26,000km of pipes across the state.

“According to our documents, only 2,000km of pipelines were repaired and rehabilitated. So why do we have to hand over 26,000km of pipes and the land where they are located to the federal government?” he asked.

Nevertheless, Mohd Azmin expressed the state government’s commitment to find a solution to conclude the water industry restructuring saga in Selangor “as long as the federal government sticks to the terms and conditions stated in the master agreement last September”.

“The federal government must not shift from the terms and spirit of the master agreement,” he said.

On Monday, Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah urged the federal and Selangor governments to conclude the water deal as soon as possible in accordance with the spirit of the master agreement.

The Sultan had also said the issue should not be politicised and the focus should be on ensuring the supply of treated water to fulfil the domestic needs in the state.

“The state will stand firm,” Mohd Azmin said, adding that the state will not surrender all water assets to the federal government.

 

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 1, 2015.