11 January, 2010


On 19th December, 2009, Pakatan Rakyat announced their Common Policy Framework at their first national convention. Among the things that was declared were, Pakatan Rakyat will guarantee clean water at reasonable rates to every family in Malaysia.

Pakatan Rakyat also declared that providing and maintaining good public infrastructure is the government’s responsibility and the implementation should not burden the people.

However, it was announced that the PAS-led Kedah government will corporatise the state’s water supply department and shall be known as Syarikat Air Darul Aman (SADA) as on 1st January, 2010.

A lot of Kedahans are now worried that the corporatisation may lead to the increase of water tariff in the state, which would burden them.

Dato Seri Azizan Abdul Razak, Menteri Besar of Kedah, had announced last week that any water tariff increase would be decided by the board of directors of SADA only after the repair of the water piping system in the state. He had not confirmed nor denied any water tariff increase after the corporatisation under SADA.

1. Water Tariff Increase Must Be Decided By The State (not SADA)

For the information of the PAS-led Kedah state government, water is one of the most important utility to Kedahans. As such, the state government must have the final say in all increase of the water tariff. SADA and their board of directors should not be allowed to decide on any water tariff increase, except to make proposals to the state.

It is important for the Kedah state government to immediately review the agreement, state laws and other documents which governs the relationship between SADA and the state government to ensure all increase of water tariff must seek the approval of the state government.

2. Kedah Government Must Give Assurance No Increase In Water Tariff

It is unfortunate that the Menteri Besar of Kedah failed to give any assurance to Kedahans that there will not be any increase of water tariff after the corporatisation.

To avoid any further uncertainty, the state government must immediately conduct a feasibility study whether there may be water tariff increase after the completion of the corporatisation exercise under SADA. There must be transparency in the state’s administration and Kedahans deserve to know whether they would be burdened by the corporatisation of the state’s water supply department.

3. Pakatan Rakyat Must Ensure That Corporatisation Will Not Burden Kedahans

As was declared by national leaders of Pakatan Rakyat, Pakatan Rakyat will guarantee clean water at reasonable rates to every family in Malaysia and that the implementation should not burden the people.

I would question why Pakatan Rakyat had allowed the PAS-led Kedah state government to proceed with the corporatisation of SADA without assurance that there will not be any increase in water tariff after the exercise, which would surely burden Kedahans?

Is there any exception to the implementation of Pakatan Rakyat’s Common Policies Framework which the people in Kedah should know?

As I have said last month, Pakatan Rakyat must implement their Common Policies Framework in Pakatan Rakyat states if they are sincere in showing Malaysians that those policies are real for implementation and not merely talks.

As such, I would call upon Pakatan Rakyat national leaders, in particular Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Dato Seri Hadi Awang and YB Lim Kit Siang to give assurance to Kedahans that the corporatisation of the water supply department in one of their Pakatan Rakyat states would not lead to any water tariff increase, which would surely burdens Kedahans.

If neither the Pakatan Rakyat national leaders nor the PAS-led Kedah government can give an assurance that there will not be any increase of the water tariff after the corporatisation, then it would be best to cancel the corporatisation that may burden Kedahans in the future.

This would then be a lesson for Pakatan Rakyat and the Kedah state government, to learn to make a feasibility study before making any decision on matters that will affect the people in Kedah.