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Form arbitration panel on water tariff hike

SHAH ALAM, 31 March 2009: Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim today suggested that the federal government set up a arbitration panel to address the request of Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) to increase the water tariff by as much as 37%.

He said the proposed arbitration panel would be the best forum to deliberate on the issue before any final decision could be made.

“If the federal government through the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications still intends to accede to the request of Syabas (to increase the water tariff), then there should be a meeting through an arbitration panel to discuss on the issue.      

“The officials of the panel could be representatives of both the federal and Selangor governments and also from Syabas as well,” Khalid told reporters after closing the state dakwah month near here today.

Yesterday, Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said he would be presenting a proposal to the Cabinet tomorrow on Syabas’ request for the water tariff increase.

Shaziman had said that the cabinet would decide whether the water distributor concessionaire in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur could raise the water tariff by as much as 37% on the same day as provided for in the concession agreements.

Khalid said that as a last resort, the Selangor government would seek legal recourse to settle the water tariff hike issue if its request for an arbitration panel to be formed was rejected.

He also claimed that the services of Syabas thus far were highly unsatisfactory and not within the expected parameters of the agreement. “These matters have been brought to the attention of the Minister of Energy, Water and Communications, together with a request that the concession agreement be terminated,” he said.

However, he said, the minister had yet to take decisive action against Syabas and had instead indicated that it would issue a licence to Syabas to continue its operation for reasons beyond the comprehension of the Selangor government. — Bernama


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