The battle for Selangor in the last General Election was fought on one crucial platform – the control of water in the state.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who personally headed the BN machinery in Selangor campaigned vigourously in the state for the people to return BN into government to “solve Selangor’s water crisis”.
Pakatan Rakyat, led by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim offered his vision for water services in Selangor where the control is returned to the state government, the rights to water to her people. Pakatan Rakyat has argued vehemently that essential services such as the provision of water should not be conceded to private companies which the sole interest of maximising profits.
We can see the consequences reflected in Subang Jaya today where the residents have been suffering for the 4th day now without water supply due to Syabas incompetence and lack of maintenance. In the water concession agreement, the obligation of maintaining the treated water reservoirs, as well as replacing broken and old pipes lay completely with SYABAS. Their failure to fulfil their obligations have caused repeated water shortages all over the Klang Valley over the past few months.
Despite the massive onslaught by BN led by the Prime Minister himself, the outcome of the 13th GE in Selangor has proven Najib’s utter and complete failure in making any in roads in the state. Not only did Najib not manage to recapture Selangor, BN lost additional 8 seats, allowing Pakatan Rakyat to capture 44 seats and leaving BN with only 12. In terms of popular support, Pakatan Rakyat Selangor enjoyed a 4% increase in popular votes from 55.4% in 2008 to 59.4% in 2013 confirming that we have won over our doubters in 2008 with our policies and administration.
Datuk Seri Najib’s defeat meant that the people of Selangor has spoken, and that they have no confidence in the BN federal government in resolving the water crisis. It is also an outright rejection of the mega-project proposed by BN, the Langat 2 water treatment plant which is expected to cost in excess of RM8 billion, inclusive of the Pahang-Selangor tunnel as well as land acquisition costs.
Instead, the rakyat have insisted in no uncertain terms, that the privatised water concessions be returned to the state government. The people of Selangor have also agreed with the state government that there are other much more effective, efficient and cheaper measures which can be taken to increase the water supply in Selangor. They can also see that the current water crisis is caused by or is manufactured by the BN Government.
Given the urgency of the water crisis in Selangor, and the appointment of a new Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, we call upon the Prime Minister to instruct Dr Ongkili to exercise the powers vested in him under the Water Services Industry Act (WSIA) 2006 to enforce the return of the water concessions to the state government.
In fact WSIA 2006 empowers the Minister to make decisions in national interest which cannot be challenged in the court of law.
The determination of what amounts to national interest issues arising from the coming into operation of this Act shall be made by the Minister and such determination shall be final and binding upon all persons and shall not be challenged, appealed against, reviewed, quashed or questioned in any court.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak must accept the will of the people of Selangor to have the water concession returned to the state government. The failure to do so will mean that the Prime Minister is once again snubbing the needs and demands of the people, making a plain joke of his “people first” slogan.