Tajol Rosli should make public the Price Waterhouse Coopers report on the water situation in Perak and explain why he is breaking his earlier undertaking that there would be no increase in water tariff after privatization of Perak Water Board
- at the thousand-people Perak Ipoh Timur dinner for the Perak DAP Building Fund
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Friday): Perak Mentri Besar Tan Sri Tajol Rosli Ghazali should make public the Price Waterhouse Coopers report on the water situation in Perak and explain why he is breaking his earlier undertaking that there would be no increase in water tariff after privatization of the Perak Water Board (PWB).
Tajol’s statement last Saturday that consumers in Perak will have to pay almost double for their water to keep the Perak Water Board afloat once it is privatized, has come as a shocker as the Perak Mentri Besar had repeatedly given the assurance before the March general election last year that there would be no increase in Perak water tariff even after privatization of the PWB.
In fact, Tajol gave a categorical undertaking to this effect when he was pressed on this issue by the DAP Perak State Assembly Opposition leader, Nga Kor Ming (Pantai Remis) in the Perak State Assembly in 2003.
The media report, quoting Tajol, that the Perak water tariff, currently pegged at 87 sen per cubic metre, will gradually be increased by 20 per cent upon PWB’s privatization and later by 40 per cent in four stages, with consumers paying about RM1.60 per cubic metre by the end of 2022, is the latest example of bad governance and breach of solemn government commitments to the people.
It is clear that a lot of studies and reports on the Perak water situation had been made but they have all been denied public access not only to the people of Perak, but even their elected representatives. Tajol mentioned a study of the future of the water situation in the state by the independent consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers. Why have its report not been made public to be freely available to the elected representatives and concerned citizens, especially when the government talks so much about ICT and the advent of an information society?
The two-day special sitting of Parliament on Monday for the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2004 to federalize water management by taking over the states’ water rights and to facilitate water privatization is setting the stage for the breaking of even more promises made by the authorities to the people on universal and affordable access of clean and quality water to Malaysians in all states – including Perak.
If the Minister of Energy, Water and Communications Dr. Lim Keng Yaik cannot give a satisfactory and acceptable explanation why the State List on the prerogative powers of the various States are being amended in violation of Article 76(1)© which requires prior request by the State Legislative Assemblies concerned before there could be any amendment by Parliament, then DAP MPs will have no choice but to vote against the Constitution Amendment Bill.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman