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MPs and State Assembly members in Perak should  insist on a Parliamentary Select Committee on the two Water Bills unless Keng Yaik can give satisfactory assurance that Perak will not be the biggest loser in water federalization and privatisation


Media Conference Statement (1)
by Lim Kit Siang


(Ipoh, Monday): As Parliamentary Opposition Leader, I am convening a third parliamentary round-table, this time on privatization of water services, in Parliament (Committee Room 2) on Friday at 10 a.m. with four objectives:

  • to bring together stakeholders to discuss the present state of water privatization in the country;
  • to discuss the six-week delay in presenting the two water bills to MPs, i.e. the Water Services Industry Bill and the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) Bill;
  • to seek clarification from the government on the proposed water bills;
  • to consult and discuss civil society views on water privatization since there has been no meaningful discussions between civil society groups and the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications. 

Civil society groups and religious groups, including the Malaysian Water Association and MyWater Partnership, water companies and SUHAKAM will be invited to attend the Roundtable.   The Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik or his deputy will attend.

MPs and State Assembly members in Perak should  insist on a Parliamentary Select Committee on the two Water Bills unless Keng Yaik can give satisfactory assurance that Perak will not be the biggest loser in water federalization and privatization.

There are several issues about water privatization in Perak that demands satisfactory clarification:

On January 9, 2005, the New Sunday Times reported that water tariff in Perak will increase from 87 sen per cubic metre by 20 percent upon privatisation of the Perak Water Board (PWB); and another 40 percent in four stages, subsequently. This comes after the assurance given by the Mentri Besar that water tariffs will not increase after the PWB privatisation.   Is a sharp hike in water tariff in Perak in the works?

The privatisation interim report was undertaken by 'independent consultants' PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Why hasnít the Perak State Government made public the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report for scrutiny by all water stakeholders in Perak.  Why is privatisation the preferred choice?  Did the report discuss alternatives to privatisation?

The  past PWB profits are as follows: 1998 - RM 36 million; 1999 - RM 11 million; 2000 - RM 10 million; 2001 - RM 22 million; 2002 - RM 39 million and estimated for 2003 - RM 47 million. The people of Perak are entitled to ask why the government: why privatise a profit-making public body? In fact the profits should be used to replace old and leaking pipes and reduce water tariffs

(06/06/2005)      

                                                       


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman