KUALA LUMPUR – Nov 13, 2015: Many Selangorians were enraged over the plan to increase water tariff in the state.
Some took it to the social media in contending, what was widely harped as a poor justification by Menteri Besar Mohamad Azmin Ali for the water tariff hike.
Azmin was quoted on Wednesday as saying that the hike was necessary to ensure effective water management and mitigate water supply disruptions in the state.
The Selangor government’s plan to increase the water tariff was made after it recently acquired the Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH) .
Azmin had nonetheless insisted that Selangorians will not be burdened by the new water tariff.
In response to his statement, netizens whom The Mole identified as Selangorians, had deemed that Azmin was being absurd for thinking that any form of tariff hike did not burden the people.
Facebook user Aznil Hisham: “Since when does a tariff increment does not be constitute as not a burden? SPLASH was bought for about RM1.6 billion via taxpayers’ money.
“The buying of SPLASH was touted to allow more water to be freely distributed to the people of Selangor…so why do you increase the tariff in the first place?”
Lim Sian See: “The reason given by him is that Selangor had to pay to buy back the water company – which is strange, since it was Federal Government who loaned Selangor the money to buy this.
“And the even stranger thing is that in Penang in 2011, Penang actually sold their state water assets to Federal Government – but since then, Penang increased water rates 3 times.
“Pakatan Whateva leaders are pretty weird. Their states buy water assets also have to increase price. Their states sell water assets also have to increase price.”
Mohd Nashraf: “It just doesn’t make sense. The water services industry was restructured in order not to burden the consumer in terms of tariff. But they are doing the exact opposite.”
Othman Ahmad: “Pakatan ‘haprak’ (useless). Do any of you guys know how to govern a state or not? If this is the best you have…how do you want to govern the nation?”
Some even argued that the tariff hike contradicted former Selangor MB Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim previous claims that such tariff should not be increased.
Khalid said on Aug 18 that the water tariff should not be increased if the state government was not paying more than RM9.75 billion for acquisition in equity form the four water concessionaires.
Khalid, who is also the Port Klang assemblyman, said although his successor, Azmin Ali, had explained that the RM2 billion water restructuring fund for equity had not changed, he did not present a clear explanation regarding the RM7.5 billion loan.
“I like to stress that the RM7.5 billion is also important as both represent the cost of the takeover.
“If we are unable to pay off the RM9.75 billion, an increase in price will affect the price of water in the future.
“That is why I am concerned that if the cost increases, the price of water will be forced to increase as well to pay off the loan,” said Khalid.
It was also disclosed during a state legislative assembly sitting that the state government initially offered SPLASH RM250 million but the company had turned down the offer.
Nonethless, SPLASH was not the only water services concessionaries that the state government is acquiring.
Azmin said that there were three other water concessionaries that the state government is acquiring; the Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Berhad (SYABAS) and Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd (ABBAS).
It was mentioned that the total cost of the acquisition of the three concessionaries was RM1.68 billion.