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Make public the Puncak Niaga water treatment privatization concession to clearly establish who is responsible for the stinking water coming out of the taps in Klang Valley as a result of the massive Sunday  flood


Media Statement (3)
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Friday):A short four-paragraph New Straits Times report today, headlined “Water quality not under us” must have shocked not only the people in Selangor state and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur but all Malaysians concerned about how public interests have been sacrificed in unconscionable and unaccountable  privatization.

The NST report reads:

‘Water quality not under us’


The company responsible for treating water from Sungai Selangor distanced itself from the poor quality of piped water last week.

Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Rozali Ismail said the quality of water did not fall under the company’s jurisdiction.

"By right, the State should take care of the problem, for it is caused by irresponsible people polluting the river," Rozali said today.

"We treat raw water. If the river is polluted, how would you expect us to un-pollute it?"

One consequence of the  massive Sunday  flood in Selangor on February 26 was the stinking water coming out of the taps of hundreds of thousands of households in the Klang Valley.

Malay Mail of 28 February 2006 reported: “The smell was so bad that residents in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor and Kuala Langat feared that it might have been contaminated with sewage.”

After five days of silence, Malay Mail today reports “The Stinking Truth” – the release of effluents from factories, farms, rubbish dumps and sewerage ponds had caused the stinking water supply in parts of the Klang Valley.

This has started the dance of  disclaiming  responsibility as evidenced by the statement by the Chairman of   Puncak Niaga  Sdn. Bhd.,  which  has the  lucrative privatization contract for processing and treating raw water in Selangor, asserting that “if the river is polluted, how would you expect us to unpolluted it?”

Will the Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khir Toyo then assume responsibility or are we going to see an intensification of the  passing-the-buck game – ending up with the consuming public as the only suckers?

The Puncak Niaga raw water treatment privatization contract, as well as the 30-year Syabas water distribution privatization contract, should be made public  immediately so that the consuming public know their exact rights.

After all, as part of the Selangor water privatization concession effective 1st January 2005, the federal government is committed to make a RM2.9 billion payout to Syabas. About RM1.34 billion will be used to partially settle Perbadanan Urus Air Selangor (PUAS’s) debts to three water treatment companies in the state, namely Puncak Niaga, ABBAS and Splash.

Or has  the Sultan of Selangor again to show royal concern about the plight of his subjects in the state by summoning the relevant authorities and Puncak Niaga for an explanation?


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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