PETALING JAYA: Opposition--led Selangor is certain that the federal government will not allow them to takeover the management of water concessionaire Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas).
State Health, Plantation Workers, Poverty and Compassionate Government executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar told The Malay Mail this was apparent when the state councillors were given the cold shoulder while handing over the letter of intent to the Energy, Green Technology, and Water Ministry last Thursday.
"The minister did not even came down to meet us. Instead his officers met us. Overall, we are not very optimistic," he said.
Dr Jayakumar said if their request was rejected by the federal government, the state might consider legal avenues to takeover Syabas.
"The legal options are always available... but we will discuss it as and when it happens," he said. The step--in or takeover, if approved, would allow the state to take control of Syabas at the management level, while the operations level would remain the same.
The move came after the water concessionaire said it was seeking the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry's permission to implement water rationing in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
The state claimed there was more than enough water reserves in the state and the question of a water crisis should not have come about and blamed Syabas for being "ineffective" in doing their job.
Dr Jayakumar said the ministry or federal government should not decide for the people of Selangor. They should be represented by the state government.
"The people of Selangor have chosen us to be their government and by right, the Menteri Besar should represent the people of Selangor," he said in reference to the special cabinet committee that has been set up to discuss the water issue.
"Menteri Besar (Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim) is not part of the committee nor is Nurul Izzah Anwar, the rightful representative of Lembah Pantai in Kuala Lumpur," he said.
Dr Jayakumar also played down criticisms by Gerakan Prihatin Rakyat Selangor (GPRS), a Selangor--based NGO that said that the state should replace its representative in Syabas because he was feeding them wrong information about the water crisis.
"We will take their comments with a pinch of salt. They have behaved in a way that shows they have an agenda and it has made us very suspicious," he said.