(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The water crisis - among the latest in a series of crisis in Malaysia - has highlighted the need for greater government responsibility, accountability and transparency and greater freedom of expression to allow the people to hold the government to high standards of government performance and delivery of basic services to the taxpayers.
If there is freedom of expression, and the government is fully committed to the principles of responsibility, accountability and transparency, Malaysians would not suddenly find that the euphoria of Malaysia being a first-class nation comparable with the most developed nations in the world could be transformed so quickly and suddenly into a nightmare of finding Malaysia in the league of third-rate nation where even basic services like piped water and clean air have become luxuries.
Although the Selangor State Government has announced that it has put on hold the water rationing plan for more than 1.2 million people who get their supply from the Semenyih dam, many people in the Petaling, Shah Alam and Klang districts have suddenly found the disruption of water supply yesterday and today without any notice or warning whatsoever.
In the Selangor State Assembly yesterday, the State Executive Councillor in charge of infrastructure, Datin Paduka Rakibah Abdul Manap gave the assurance that the next round of rationing for areas as yet unaffected would be more systematic.
What confidence could the suffering public in the Klang Valley have in such assurances when even before the start of the second water rationing programme, many people have to face water disruptions without notice or warning whatsoever?
Such a situation should not have happened as the water authorities should have had adequate time and experience since the start of the water shortage crisis to plan in advance to ensure that there is an efficient contingency strategy to deal with the worsening of the crisis.
It would appear that the authorities concerned, whether it be Puncak Niaga or the Selangor State Government, had learnt nothing from the water crisis and the disastrous handling of the crisis in the past weeks.
Rakibah said yesterday that the Selangor Mentri Besar, Datuk Abu Hassan Omar, would announce the new date of implementation of the second water rationing programme sometime this week.
It is time for the Selangor Mentri Besar to personally take over the full responsibility of coping with the water crisis in the Klang Valley and not to leave it in the hands of an Exco Member.