JERLUN: The Kedah government is to write officially to the Penang government to have discussions on the issue over the sale of raw water from Kedah.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir said the letter to be sent shortly was expected to launch the discussions on the matter between the two state governments.
Kedah feels that Penang should pay for the raw water it draws from the Muda River which originates in Kedah but also flows through Penang.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had reportedly stated that Kedah's proposal to charge Penang for the raw water was "unreasonable" as Penang was taking the water from the river in Penang without any expense to Kedah.
Mukhriz said the previous PAS-led Kedah government had sent a similar letter to the Penang government but it was only at the level of the state executive councils and did not reach Lim.
"I will refer to the earlier letter and we will look into the matter. I do not wish to politicise this water issue.
"I will make sure that the request for the sale of raw water to Penang is done legally and will discuss it with the state secretary and legal advisor," he told reporters after the handing over of refurbished houses at Wisma Umno Jerlun on Friday.
Mukhriz said he was thankful to former Kedah local government, water supply and water and energy resource committee chairman Datuk Phahrolrazi Zawawi who supported his initiative to seek payment for the raw water.
Phahrolrazi had stated in a newspaper report that the sale of raw water to Penang was apolitical and based on the right and justification of the Kedah government to obtain payment for nurturing the source of raw water.
Mukhriz said the Kedah government also wanted to know what the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry had to say in arriving at an amicable solution in the matter.
"A Penang state executive councillor representing the DAP had raised the matter in the state legislative assembly and wanted it to be brought to the Dewan Rakyat for a reply from the ministry. I am waiting for the reply from the ministry," he said. - Bernama