23 September, 2010

Other Pakatan Rakyat States Should Not Follow Penang's Method To Increase Water Tariff

I refer to the announcement by the Pakatan Rakyat led Penang government to impose a surcharge of 24 sen per 1,000 litres on domestic consumers using more than 35,000 litres of water per month. Pakatan Rakyat claims that the “Water Conservation Surcharge” (WCS) is part of their effort to encourage wise water usage and to curb water wastage among the people of Penang.

In last December, 2009, Pakatan Rakyat pledged in their Common Policies Framework (paragraph H):-

(a) that providing and maintaining good public infrastructure is the government’s responsibility;
(b) the implementation should not burden the people; and
(c) they would guarantee clean water at reasonable rates to every family in Malaysia

However, the recent introduction of WCS by Pakatan Rakyat clearly fails to take into account that the number of person in every household may not be the same.

The average monthly water consumption of 35,000 litres as estimated by Pakatan Rakyat for Penang is an assumption based on the average number of persons (example of 5 person) in a household. Such an assumption would burden large families living in a single home (example 10 persons) and it is unreasonable to impose WCS on large families living in a single home.

While Kedah Gerakan Youth welcomes any move to curb water wastage among the people, such a move should be a rationale move implemented based on proper studies and should not be a hasty move that unfairly burdens any group of people. Otherwise, it can be assumed that such moves are mere attempts to increase water tariff and disguise under the pretext of curbing water wastage.

Any move to introduce WCS should take into account the actual numbers of person living in a household.

Based on the aforesaid, the current introduction of WCS by Pakatan Rakyat in Penang should not be taken as precedent for other Pakatan Rakyat states to increase the water tariff in their respective states.

It is hope that Pakatan Rakyat would honour their pledge made in their Common Policies Framework to assure the people that other Pakatan Rakyat states would not follow the hasty move by Pakatan Rakyat Penang to introduce WCS without considering the actual number of occupants of a household.