20 January, 2010

'No' to pricey water in Kedah - extracted from Malaysiakini

'No' to pricey water in Kedah
By Athi Shankar from Malaysiakini
Jan 12, 10 5:46pm

The Kedah government, led by Pakatan Rakyat, has come under pressure not to increase the water tariff up to 2020.

Gerakan Youth state chief Tan Keng Liang said Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak should give an assurance that consumers will not have to pay more for water.

Concern about a possible hike arose when water supply was corporatised under Syarikat Air Darul Aman (Sada) on Jan 1. This was previously managed by the waterworks department.

“Kedahans are worried that they will have to fork out more for water supply. I cannot understand why the state government is so hesitant about guaranteeing that there will be no (increase in price) until 2020,” said Tan in a statement yesterday.

He pointed out that, under Pakatan's common policy framework (CPF) unveiled on Dec 19last year, the coalition had guaranteed clean water supply to Malaysians at a reasonable rate.

He said the CPF also declares that it is the government's responsibility to provide, upgrade and maintain good public infrastructure, and that implementation should not burden the people.

Yesterday, when fielding questions from reporters, Azizan (left) declined to give any assurance, saying it is “a non-issue” and that any increase will be decided by the Sada board after repairs to pipes.

Exception to rule?

Tan subsequently described Azizan's statement as neither a denial nor confirmation, and called for a study on whether the tariff could go up on completion of the corporatisation exercise.

He said Kedahans “have a right to know” whether they will bear the burden of the state policy.

Tan also questioned why Pakatan's top leaders have allowed the Kedah government to corporatise water supply without ensuring that the tariff would remain unchanged.

"Was it an exception to the rule under the CPF?” he asked, calling for the assurance to be provided instead by Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Abdul Hadi Awang.

“If the state government and Pakatan leaders cannot guarantee this, then it would be best to cancel the corporatisation exercise that may burden Kedahans in the future.”

p/s: I only paste this article after a week from the date it being published as I believe that readers should subscribe to Malaysiakini for latest news.