Klang Valley's decade-long water crisis ends with deal to takeover supplier

File photo of residents of a Kuala Lumpur apartment block collecting water from a tank after supply was disrupted on March 11, 2018.
File photo of residents of a Kuala Lumpur apartment block collecting water from a tank after supply was disrupted on March 11, 2018. PHOTO: BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya will be operating with just one water concessionaire, namely Pengurusan Air Selangor effective April 1.

It marks an end to a saga of more than 10 years with Selangor having to deal with the issue under four federal ministers, three mentris besar and four state secretaries.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar does not foresee any delay in getting Air Selangor to start its operations, especially now that it has been provided with financial help in acquiring Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor (Splash).

"I don't think there will be any hiccups because everything has been settled, the amount has been agreed upon between Air Selangor and Splash, and the Cabinet has given its approval."

"The coming months is just the process of going through the business model and hand over the assets to Air Selangor so that it can operate as planned," he said.

The minister was speaking after witnessing the signing of third supplementary agreement on the restructuring of water services for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

The supplementary agreement states that the federal government - via Pengurusan Aset Air - agreeing to a financing facility amounting to RM1.9 billion (S$630 million) for the purpose of the takeover.

Dr Xavier said Selangor was not the last state to be completing water restructuring as Perlis, Pahang, Terengganu and Kedah had yet to do so.

Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari is pleased the issue has been resolved as he had made it one of his pledges when he accepted the post.

"Discussions on restructuring Selangor's water services began in 2007 and after so long, we have finally managed to settle it," he said.

 

Amirudin said it took time for the water restructuring process to complete because the state has not one, but four water concessionaires.

"So you can imagine how difficult and tedious the process is, but we managed to pull through," he said.

The federal and Selangor governments signed the master agreement to restructure the state's water services in 2014 to take over the four water concessionaires - Puncak Niaga, Konsortium Abass, Syarikat Belakan Air Selangor (Syabas) and Splash.

Air Selangor took over Syabas, Puncak Niaga and Konsortium Abass in 2015 while the acquisition of Splash was completed last year.

Amirudin also said that Air Selangor had come up with an capital expenditure plan of RM30 billion for a time period of 30 years beginning this year to improve water services.