Wednesday 15 August 2012

S'gor imposes gag order on Syabas

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) cannot make any media statement on its operations without the approval of the state government, Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said today.

NONEKhalid (left) said Syabas could make an announcement only after the matter was discussed at daily meetings between the state and Syabas officers, which started last week.

"This includes making announcements about water rationing or service disruptions," Khalid told a press conference after chairing the state exco meeting today.

He said the Selangor government has enforced part of the agreement between the two which allows it to "oversee Syabas' operations".

"According to the agreement, Syabas is the state's water operator. The state has oversight over it and we are enforcing this arrangement," he said.

The committee to oversee Syabas, which will convene daily meetings soon, will issue press statements every day to ensure transparency, Khalid said.

"We will, from time to time, also bring the National Water Services Commission into the meetings," he said.

‘Information sought, not given’

Khalid had earlier received a memorandum from the Malaysian Trades Union Congress and the Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP),seeking the state's assistance to obtain information on the alleged water crisis in Selangor.

NONE"We had gone to Syabas to seek this information but it cited confidentiality and an agreement it had with the federal and state governments for its inability to provide this information," said CAWP representative Charles Santiago (left in photo).

Among other aspects, the NGOs want information on the volume of raw water supplied to treatment plants, as well as treated water to supplied to Syabas for end consumption.

On a separate matter, state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong said the Selangor would start seizing land where peat fires have been left to burn unabated by owners.

The action will be overseen by a special task force under the menteri besar's purview, Wong said.

Among the areas affected are some 600 hectares in Johan Setia, where firefighters and volunteers have struggled to put out a peat fire for about a month now.

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