SHAH ALAM • Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos, a declared enemy of Malaysia's opposition parties, raised a ruckus outside the Selangor state secretariat building yesterday by turning up with only towels guarding his modesty, demanding to shower at the office of Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali following a water supply cut at his house in Ampang.
The outspoken Sungei Besar division chief for Umno, Malaysia's ruling party, was protesting against water disruptions that began on Monday and have hit nearly four million homes and businesses in the Klang Valley. Selangor state, which is responsible for the water supply, is run by the Pakatan Harapan alliance of federal opposition parties.
According to news site Malaysiakini.com, Datuk Seri Jamal - holding a plastic water dipper filled with toiletries, and with a toothbrush tucked behind one ear - was accompanied by some 15 supporters as he stood outside the closed gates to the secretariat building.
"This is not a red shirt. This is just a white towel. I didn't come here to protest. I only want to take a bath at the Menteri Besar's office. If I can't take a bath at his office, let me take a bath downstairs," the news site quoted him as saying.
He attempted to call Mr Azmin on the phone, but left a voice message instead. "I am Jamal from Sungai Besar... I came here to take a bath. The people are suffering. Please pick up your phone," he said, according to Malaysiakini.
The news site reported that Mr Jamal shook the metal gates and taunted security personnel, challenging them to search him for weapons.
"I just want a shower! I did not bring any bombs or weapons," he said, while accusing Mr Azmin and the state government of pointing fingers and politicising water issues instead of providing solutions.
The water cut which began on Monday was originally scheduled to last six days, until Christmas Eve, drawing flak from citizens and politicians alike for being insensitive to those celebrating Christmas.
In response to the public outcry, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry said on Tuesday that piped water would likely be restored by today, two days earlier than planned. Meanwhile, the National Water Services Commission announced that in future, all water companies will not be allowed to carry out maintenance works during festive seasons.
The disruption was to allow power utility Tenaga Nasional to service its substations at Bukit Badong that power the Selangor River's water treatment plants. These maintenance works were completed on Tuesday evening. Officials said piped water was being restored gradually, and would be completely restored by tomorrow at the latest.