#Frankly Speaking* More clarity needed on water deal

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THE memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the federal government and Selangor last week not only had ambiguous details, but also raised the question of why Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had kept his fellow Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers in the dark.

Many Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers said they only learnt of the MoU at the eleventh hour or from the media. In fact, only selected media were invited to the signing event in Putrajaya.

Under the MoU, the Selangor government agrees to the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant and its distribution system while the federal government is providing RM2 billion to “facilitate” the takeover of the water assets.

However, the details remain murky and raise the question of whether the RM2 billion will result in a higher offer to the concessionaires.

After all, Khalid did say that the state will not revise upwards the original RM9.65 billion offer as that could impact the water tariff. Thus, what benefit does Selangor get in return for allowing the construction of Langat 2, to which it had previously objected?More information is required from Khalid on what the MoU entails. Otherwise, the people will speculate that the deal was purely for political reasons.

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly Edition, on March 3 - March 9, 2014.