Water deal: We’ll call the shots, says MB
Khalid Ibrahim is confident that the state will be allowed to continue managing its water assets during the three-year interim period.
SHAH ALAM: Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is unperturbed by the statement that the federal government will be taking over the state’s water assets for three years until the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant is operational.
He is confident that the state would still be allowed to call the shots during the interim period.
“They say it is three years, but actually (in that period) they will give the state the authority to run the water assets.
“Indeed under Section 114 of the Water Services Industry Act (Wasia), the minister has the power to takeover the water assets. But after the takeover is executed the state will continue to manage it,” Khalid told reporters after attending a tourism event here today.
His statement was a clarification to Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Maximus Ongkili’s statement today regarding the invocation of Wasia which allows the federal government to forcefully take over the state’s water concessionaires for three years.
“It will be an interim three-year takeover until the first trickle of water comes through from the Langat 2 water treatment plant or earlier, depending on the situation.”
“After we take over, the water players in Selangor will continue to carry out the operations but subject to our terms. Under Section 114, the minister takes control, and the task force will oversee the water production and assets of the company,” Maximus was reported as saying today.
The minister had also said that the takeover exercise will be carried out in the next two weeks.
The move came after three of the four water concessionaires in Selangor, namely Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash), rejected a RM9.65 billion takeover offer by the Selangor government.
The fourth concessionaire, Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd, is fully owned by the Selangor government.
The federal and Selangor governments signed a memorandum of understanding last month, under which the federal government would allow the Selangor government to acquire and restructure its water assets in order for the state to approve the Langat 2 project.
Khalid said both sides would be coming up with plans to ensure a smooth takeover after the invocation of Wasia.
“But the state is of the opinion that the federal government should speed up the takeover process and return the authority of water management to the state,” said Khalid.