Saturday, July 28, 2012

Is There Really A Water Crisis In Selangor Or The Tale Of Clucking Hens

Water is a precious and sacred resource. Nobody should be playing politics with it and certainly not to use water to hold people to ransom.

But it seems that certain quarters in Selangor and outside are trying to do just that.

Water treatment and distribution used to be a simple thing in the past, where the various state governments would themselves be responsible for the whole thing. And, on the whole, they did their job well and without fuss.

But along came Mahathir and it seems that almost any entity that could, and even those that shouldn't, would be privatised to cronies and family members in what has been likened by one-time opposition icon Lim Kiat Siang as "piratisation", that is, privatising profits to cronies and making the public pay for the losses.

So, water treatment and distribution in Selangor became a complicated thing. Several private companies became responsible for the filtration of water and Syabas for the supply and distribution.

Of late, Syabas had been clucking like a hen about to lay eggs, making loud noises that Selangor should start water rationing as there was a water shortage in the state.

All this, while the heavens had been pouring cats and dogs and all the seven dams in the state were and are still brimming with water.

This made many Selangorians very suspicious.

Was somebody trying to "manufacture" a water crisis for some purpose?

The lie to Syabas's cry that there was a water crisis in Selangor came when DPM Muhyiddin who heads the government committee to look into the Selangor water situation, himself said that there was no need for water rationing in Selangor but that the federal government would nevertheless proceed to build the Langat 2 water treatment plant.

Then just two days ago, PM Njib himself came out to say that the Barisan government of which he helms, would be able to solve the water problem if it were returned to power in Selangor.

Now we have a clear picture of what is actually happening.

Certain parties are out trying to kill two or three birds with one stone:

1. Make the Pakatan led state government of Selangor look incompetent
2. In doing so, hope that the voters of Selangor would vote out Pakatan and bring
    Barisan back to power
3. Make a killing with the Langat 2 water treatment plant

No 3 needs some elaboration.

The proposed Langat 2 water treatment plant costs a whopping Rm8 billion plus!

Malaysians know how the project would likely be awarded, even though the federal government assures that it would be awarded by way of tender.

Malaysians also know that by the time the treatment plant is completed, which the government says is three years, the cost would have sky-rocketted - maybe doubled or even tripled!

And that just for one treatment plant that the Selangor government says is unnecessary

And of course, the cost of treated water to the consumers would spike too.

And of course Syabas and the others would be smiling more broadly then.

Not that they are not now.

The head honco of Syabas himself is said to be taking home Rm5.1 million a year.

That, some say, is taking too much for doing too little.

In other words, just obscene.

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