By Hafidz Baharom
SHAH ALAM, July 16 — Selangor will take over water utility Syabas’ operations to avert a supply crisis that has been described as “suspicious”, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today.
He said the state government was invoking clause 32 of the concession agreement to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and will inform the federal government of its decision.
“The water shortage and the announcement of a water-rationing programme by Syabas are suspicious to the Selangor state government as both the State Water Commissioner and Syabas’ own board of directors were not informed of this proposal,” Khalid (picture) told a press conference here.
He has also directed the State Secretary and the State Water Commission to monitor Syabas’ operations and present a daily report on the current water levels state-wide.
“As of April 2012, Syabas still has RM2.8 billion in arrears and has failed to reduce non-revenue water to 20 per cent,” he added.
Khalid also said the early audit reports showed that Syabas was not handling its capital expenditure well.
The mentri besar also said legal action would be taken if Putrajaya refused the state’s request to step in and resolve an impasse over future water supply.
On July 14, Syabas presented the Malaysian National Water Services Commission (SPAN) with a water-rationing plan that will affect the Klang Valley, particularly Kuala Lumpur, Hulu Langat and Klang.
In its last weekly report available on its website, Syabas recorded on July 5 that the average demand for water was 4,324.79 million litres a day (MLD) with clean water reserve being at 46.21 MLD, or 1.6 per cent, far below the recommended reserve of 20 per cent.
The utility provider also stated in June that the water shortage was caused by a lack of rain, contamination of rivers and scheduled maintenance work at water treatment plants.