Thursday, 19 July 2012

Treating the ‘Selangor water crisis’ — The Malaysian Insider

July 19, 2012
JULY 19 — With the amount of water splashing around in Selangor these days, one would think any discussion about water would revolve around the abundance rather than the shortage of the liquid.

But this is Malaysia and today, we learn that Putrajaya has formed a special Cabinet Committee chaired by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to discuss the issue of the availability of treated water and the need for another treatment plant that will be ready at least two years down the road.

And that any shortage and rationing now is due to the recalcitrance of the Selangor government, run by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) - the political foes of Barisan Nasional (BN) which controls Putrajaya.

Add to the potent mix that could give votes to either side in the next elections is utility provider, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) which is controlled by Tan Sri Rozali Ismail , who is also Selangor Umno treasurer.

The question is, is there really a water crisis or is it manufactured by Putrajaya in what is seen as an attempt to wrest back the country's wealthiest and most industrialised state back to BN.

Doesn't it look like strictly out of the standard political playbook to create a crisis and then come up with a solution favourable to the rakyat in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya?

Also, what can Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar, Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik and Green Technology.

Energy and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin contribute to the solution?

On a political level, they are all part of the BN government and except for Chin, really have no ministerial relevance to the water issue. Unless it’s because Noh is from Selangor Umno and Raja Nong Chik runs FT Umno?

And why not a bi-partisan panel? Or allow the National Water Services Commission (Span) to sort out the issue of raw water supply and treated water services?

And is PR really incompetent? Is a political solution all there is to it, with the great unwashed masses being let to suffer until they decide on a party that can ensure adequate water supply.

The lives of the largest concentration of Malaysians in the country, plus the number of expatriates and foreign workers are at risk here from reports of a water shortage.

Does any political coalition want to play with that and risk a backlash at the polls from Malaysians?
Don't treat Malaysians the same way water is being treated - as political football. One might end up surprised with the score, just like 2008.

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