THE Federal Government has warned Selangor that it will step in if the state fails to resolve its water woes.
Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (pic) said the Federal Government had the power under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655) to take over water supply and distribution in a state in the event of an emergency.
He, however, said this option would only be considered if the acquisition of Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (SPLASH) hits a dead end.
“We can invoke Act 655 in the name of national security, and if the water situation in Selangor continues (to worsen), we will look at all our legal options, including the use of Act 655.
“Of course, I hope the situation will be resolved through a willing buyer, willing seller basis in the takeover of SPLASH, so we do not need to face a water emergency,” he said in reply to a supplementary question by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (IND-Bandar Tun Razak).
Khalid, who was Selangor Mentri Besar during the state’s acquisition of three other water concessionaires, had suggested that the ministry invoke Act 655 should things take a turn for the worse.
Under Act 655, an emergency is defined as a situation where water supply is insufficient due to excessive drought or industrial unrest, strike or lock-out, where the water supply system is a threat to public health or safety, or any event that causes a dire situation.
Dr Ongkili noted that all matters related to the takeover of SPLASH by the state government had been settled, except for asset value.
“I’m surprised, why the current Selangor MB is afraid to follow his predecessor and simply name the price? It is very simple.
“The Klang MP (Charles Santiago) claims it is the Federal Government’s job to name the price, but as per the willing buyer, willing seller system, the state that is buying the asset should decide this.
“The Federal Government is only a facilitator that will provide the appropriate funding, if need be,” he added.
Water supply in the Klang Valley had been disrupted since last Tuesday due to repairs for a burst surge vessel system at the Sungai Selangor Phase Three Water Treatment Plant (SSP3).
The Selangor government has blamed SPLASH over the issue, saying the firm did not spot the damage and schedule repairs in time.