Selangor can ignore water deal after Putrajaya’s failure to help buy 4 firms, says Pakatan Water Panel
The Selangor government has offered RM9.65 billion to four water companies as part of its move to restructure the water industry in the state. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, March 17, 2014.Selangor need not fulfil its part in the water deal as Putrajaya has not invoked the law to acquire the water companies, says Pakatan Rakyat today.
DAP’s Tony Pua, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and PAS’s Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said in a joint statement, given the federal government’s failure, the state government should just withold all remaining necessary approvals for the Langat 2 project to proceed.
“There is no legal necessity for the state to fulfil its obligations in the memorandum of understanding (MoU), when the federal government has failed to even demonstrate their commitment,” they said.
Last month, Putrajaya signed a MoU with the Selangor government whereby the latter would purchase four water concessionaires for RM9.65 billion.
The concessionaires are Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd (Abbas) and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash).
Under the MoU, Putrajaya was supposed to “facilitate” the restructuring of the Selangor water industry.
In return, Selangor would grant approvals for the construction of the mega-billion ringgit Langat 2 water treatment plant.
On March 11, at 5pm, the deadline outlined in the MoU for the water restructuring deal, only the state-owned Abbas had accepted the Selangor government’s offer.
Splash rejected the offer outright while Puncak Niaga and its subsidiary, Syabas, said they were willing to “consider” the state’s offer on several conditions.
Putrajaya then announced it would exercise its powers under the Water Services Industry Act (Wasia) 2006 to help the Selangor administration proceed with the deal.
However, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili issued a statement last Friday announcing that Putrajaya would not invoke Wasia 2006.
“Right now, we are still facilitating without invoking Wasia 2006 if possible, but the water situation is getting bad,” Ongkili reportedly said.
However, Pua said Ongkili’s statements contradicted the joint statement which he had issued with Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last Tuesday.
He said Ongkili had earlier agreed that in line with the terms of the MoU, Putrajaya would now pursue the exercise of its rights and powers under Wasia 2006.
This included invoking Section 114 of Wasia 2006 to address issues of national interests to ensure security, sustainability and viability of the water supply industry in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
The Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers said the latest about-turn by Ongkili was a betrayal of the spirit of the MoU signed between Selangor and the federal government on February 26.
Putrajaya had promised to persuade the concessionaires to accept a final offer made by Selangor by March 10.
If the concessionaires rejected the offer, it was to use Wasia 2006 to start the compulsory acquisition of the water companies.
In return, the Selangor government would concede and grant the necessary approvals for the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant to the federal government.
“We would like to remind Ongkili that Selangor has already made the final offer,” Pua said, adding that the offer had already been rejected by the concessionaires.
“Putrajaya has failed to do their part to persuade them to accept the offer as Selangor will not be increasing the value of the offer.
“Hence the deal is dead, there is no more negotiations. Five years of fruitless negotiations with these greedy concessionaires is enough time wasted.” – March 17, 2014.