BN and Selangor state government to work together to keep water tariffs at reasonable rate

Barisan Nasional assemblymen will work together with the state government to keep water tariffs at a reasonable rate, said Selangor Opposition Leader Datuk Satim Diman (BN-Seri Serdang).

“If it is a burden to the people, the opposition is ready to work with the state government to stop the tariff hike,” Satim told the state assembly yesterday.

While state executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar was wrapping up the Supplementary Supply Bill 2012, Satim pointed out that the state government held a 30 per cent stake in water concessionaire Syabas and asked why it could not voice its objections on the tariff hike.

“The state government, through its subsidiary, holds shares in Syabas and that makes the state government accountable as well. Can’t the state government, through its shareholding, voice its concerns (on tariff hike)? If the company (Syabas) makes profits, the shareholders will profit too,” he said.

Dr Xavier explained that as minority shareholders, the state government could not influence decisions made by majority shareholders.

Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim then explained that the majority shareholders would get their motion passed during the company’s annual general meeting despite objections from the minority shareholders.

Earlier, Mohd Isa Abu Kasim (BN-Batang Kali) suggested a “win-win solution” to the water war impasse in the state.

“Why don’t we approve Langat 2 (treatment plant), but block the increase in water tariff? That is my suggestion,” he said.

The state government had refused to allow the construction of Langat 2 without the federal government agreeing to restructuring the water industry in Selangor, claiming that the new treatment plant was overpriced and would result in higher tariffs for consumers.

At the lobby, Dr Xavier explained that without restructuring the water industry, it was not possible to prevent a hike in water tariffs.

“The increase is in the concession agreement (with Syabas). The moment we give in and allow Langat 2, all is lost and water tariff will go up,” he said.

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