Impasse broken for Klang Valley water deal

A family collecting spring water in Puncak Alam due to the water crisis in the Klang Valley.
A family collecting spring water in Puncak Alam due to the water crisis in the Klang Valley.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Pact means federal govt can proceed with water restructuring on land held by Selangor

PUTRAJAYA • Malaysia's federal government and the Selangor state government yesterday signed a supplemental agreement on a water restructuring plan, ending a seven-year impasse that has threatened to cause water shortage in the country's most industrialised and populated region.

The agreement for the restructuring and consolidation of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya water services industry was signed at the office of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.

The agreement is an additional deal to the existing water restructuring master agreement signed on Sept 12 last year that had caused friction between the federal government, which is run by the Barisan Nasional coalition, and the Selangor administration, which is controlled by opposition parties.

Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali and Tan Sri Muhyiddin, who is chairman of the Special Cabinet Committee on Selangor Water Issues, witnessed the signing ceremony.

Water resources, including reservoirs, treatment plants and distribution networks for Greater KL region - encompassing Kuala Lumpur, southern Selangor constituencies and the administrative capital of Putrajaya - are controlled by four companies jointly owned by the federal government and Selangor state.

The joint control became a problem when Selangor fell to the opposition in 2008.

Adding to the tensions was a plan by the federal government to build a giant water plant called Langat 2 that would sit on land owned by Selangor state.

Both governments have since been in protracted talks to resolve the issue, even as a possible water shortage looms in the background as water usage has continued rising.

With yesterday's deal, the acrimony of the last seven years should be behind the two parties as the four water companies will be controlled by Selangor. The federal government can go ahead to build the Langat 2 plant on land held by Selangor.

Among the conditions laid in the supplemental agreement was to allow the water restructuring exercise to proceed without Selangor giving up its land while still complying with the requirements of the Water Services Industry Act 2006.

Mr Azmin, in a joint press conference with Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Maximus Ongkili, said the landmark deal will have a direct impact on some eight million people in Greater KL, which is also called the Klang Valley.

"This signing clearly shows the state government can work well with the federal government when both parties are prepared to set aside extraneous concerns for the common good and welfare of the people," he said in a statement.

Officials have said that the Greater KL region consumes some 4.465 million cubic m of water a day. The figure is set to rise to 5.371 million cu m by 2030, which the Langat 2 plant is able to handle.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'Impasse broken for Klang Valley water deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe