KUALA LUMPUR: As the water cut in Balakong, Selangor reached Day Seven, things were turning ugly with foreign residents hijacking Syabas water tankers during its rounds to distribute water.
Syabas corporate communications assistant general manager Priscilla Alfred confirmed that at 7pm on Friday, their tanker WNP 9067 was sending water to Block J and K at the apartments in Taman Setia Balakong when a resident from another block started brandishing a switchblade.
“He was not happy that our tanker did not stop at his place. At that time, the tanker was heading to Block J and K before going to Block H and I.
“However, the residents’ committee managed to intervene to help ease the tension,” she said, adding that a police report had been lodged.
Balakong assemblyman Eddie Ng told The Star that the residents in the area had claimed of other violent encounters with foreigners and Syabas tankers.
“I was told by the residents that on some occasions, the tankers would be ambushed by foreigners with parang.
“They would threaten the driver and ask them to go to their residence first to distribute the water.”
Residents around Taman Impian Ehsan said they had been without regular water supply for more than a week and squabbles among those who “fought” for water from the tankers had become a daily affair.
In Kluang, Johor, Syarikat Air Johor Holdings (SAJ) Sdn Bhd said a factory owner used sandbags and even dug a water channel to redirect water from a river in Sembrong Timur to his oil palm plantation, causing a drop in water levels in a water treatment plant there.
Following a sudden drop in water levels on Feb 12, the company investigated the matter and found the diversion point about 3km from the plant.
Officials then removed the sandbags, but the owner instructed his workers to rebuild the barge the following day.
When the officials went back again several days ago, the owner scolded and prevented them from removing the barrier.
The company’s corporate communications manager Jamaluddin Jamil confirmed the incident, saying that the barrier had caused water levels at the plant to drop from 0.4m to 0.2m.
“Anything below 0.2m is considered critical.
“This could cause problems with the water directed to about 10,000 consumers around the area,” he said.