Ex-MB Khalid: Stop flip-flopping on S'gor water consolidation

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SHAH ALAM (April 2): Former Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has raised concerns over the lapse of the water restructuring master agreement, urging both the federal and Selangor state governments to not "flip-flop" on the issue.

The agreement was signed among Khalid — when he was still the MB, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB) and Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) on Sept 12 last year. However, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali had allowed the master agreement to lapse in a dispute over land ownership from Selangor, where 26,000km of pipes are situated.

Under the master agreement, water assets are to be transferred to PAAB, together with the land where the assets are situated. The assets will then be leased out to the water services operator (Air Selangor) for 45 years, after which the assets and related land will be returned to the state.

"I hope that both governments can go back to the drawing board and conclude the water deal promptly for the people's benefit," Khalid said, adding the objective of the water restructuring is to ensure there was sufficient water supply for consumers in Selangor.

"The water deal is already delayed and there are more important things that (both governments) need to focus on. The honeymoon period is over and we need to stop politicising over the issue," he said, when debating the royal address at the Selangor state legislative assembly here today.

Khalid, who is Port Klang assemblyman, also expressed his disappointment over the current Selangor leadership for its vacillating stance on the master agreement.

"This is not only confusing the public, but is also exposing the state's weaknesses in executing the agreement," he said.

Khalid said Azmin should step down as Selangor menteri besar, should he fail to resolve the water consolidation deal according to the people's wishes.

"I am not interested on the post, but the state should come out with a new candidate," he added.

On the ownership of the 26,000km of pipes across the state, Khalid stressed there was no argument that these pipelines come under the state's jurisdiction.

Hence, he said, these water pipes cannot be transferred to the federal government in exchange for RM2 billion, which was to help offset Selangor's cost of taking over the four concessionaires.

"It is ridiculous for us (Selangor) to give it (the pipelines) to federal government for RM2 billion," said Khalid.

On Tuesday (March 31), Azmin said the main reason leading to the lapse of the master agreement was due to the federal government asking for ownership of all water assets, along with the lands where these assets are on.

"If we were to surrender all water assets in the state to the federal government, the assets would be managed by PAAB. Hence, the state would have no control over the water industry eventually, as PAAB is not owned by the state," Azmin added.