SHAH ALAM, 17 March 2009: The Selangor government hopes it can use excess money from the sale of its water assets to the federal government to reduce the rate of non-revenue water, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said today.
He said the state government estimated the value of its water assets at RM9 billion.
The assets and water concession rights of the four water concession companies in Selangor — Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga (M) Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash) and Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd — are estimated at RM5.5 billion to RM6 billion.
Abdul Khalid spoke during the debate on the motion tabled by Ng Suee Lim (DAP-Sekinchan) urging the federal government to give priority to the rights and interests of the people of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur in the talks on the purchase of the water management rights from the four companies.
Ng said the total debts of the four concessionaires was RM6.4 billion and added that this indicated that the financial position of the companies was most critical.
“Although the facts and figures given by the concession companies are proof that they are facing a critical financial crisis, what is surprising is that they are able to pay the highest salaries in the national water sector,” he said.
He urged Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor to use his powers to put into effect the water industry restructure scheme and return the water management right to the state government without any excuses.
Abdul Khalid said the state government was working towards reducing non-revenue water from the current 40% to 10%.
“If this can be achieved, the water tariff can be lowered,” he said.
The motion was approved.
The assembly, which adjourned today, also approved a motion tabled by Hannah Yeoh (DAP-Subang Jaya) urging the federal government to take measures to cooperate with the state government to prop up the ailing economy in the interests of the people.
At a news conference after the adjournment of the state assembly, Abdul Khalid said the state government did not have any allocation to implement the RM50-billion state government economic stimulus package announced early this month.
He said the stimulus package would depend on allocation channelled by the federal government and via privatised projects.
“The state government does not have funds because the revenue of the state government is only RM1.5 billion a year and, going by the law, the state government cannot obtain loans from the private sector,” he said. — Bernama