The Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) will be taking legal action to compel Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) to provide technical information that will determine if the state is truly facing a water crisis.

This comes after Syabas’ refusal to furnish the information to CAWP which the latter had sought two weeks ago, said CAWP representative Charles Santiago.

NONE“In order to push the idea of the Selangor people’s right to information, we have to go to the courts and push the courts to make the decision to get information on all the water players,” Santiago, who is also the Klang MP.

He was speaking to reporters after leading 14 representatives from CAWP and Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) to the Syabas headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today for a discussion with company representatives.

The discussion was held following Syabas’ decision not to heed CAWP’s request to furnish the information by August 7, and instead invited the group for a dialogue.
Crisis of information

However, discussions did not yield new information, lamented Santiago, because Syabas said that it had to adhere to stipulation in its concession agreement between Selangor and the federal government to keep confidential information under wraps.

NONE“They said they must get permission. When we asked about the bills, the chemicals used, and the water that entered and left the treatment plant, they said they could not give us that information.

“We have an information crisis on our hands. Everybody is either hiding behind a concession agreement, and confidentiality.

“At the same time, the people are being told that there is a crisis in their midst and that there will be no water. This is unacceptable, and we hope the courts will help us address this,” he said.
Essential data

During the meeting, CAWP also handed a memorandum to Syabas, urging the company to disclose the total flow of untreated water from dams and pump system to the treatment plants, the water metre readings of treated water to the treatment plant and to consumers.

The group is also urging Syabas to release of the logbooks and calibrated water readings as well as parent company Puncak Niaga's payments to Syabas for its sales of water during the same period.

Syabas has been warning the public of an impending water crisis unless the Langat 2 water treatment plant project is allowed to proceed.

Critics claim that Selangor had sufficient raw water and that it was Syabas that was incapable of treating the water to cater for the state’s needs.

They also claim that Syabas was in cahoots with the federal government to push for the RM8.65 billion Langa 2 treatment plant, which will benefit government cronies and cause a spike in water tariffs in the long term.