‘Free’ water system unfair

Posted on July 28, 2010. Filed under: Water resource |

-The Star- THE first 20 cubic metres of free water in Selangor is deemed unfair as it is not “flowing” out to the more deserving people, especially those from the lower-income group and those residing in low-cost units.

These people are not enjoying the “free” status.

It has been almost two years since the state government announced the scheme to ease the burden of the people but the effectiveness is yet to be seen.

Selangor Umno Youth Infomation chief Safarizul Mustafa posed this question over the water being a burden to Selangorians.

He said the whole scheme was nothing more than a political gambit by the Pakatan-led government.

“Now they are facing problems with future water resources and when the federal government wanted to intervene with the Langat 2 Water Treatment Plant project, they rejected it.

“Water is not an issue in the state and if they wanted to help, it should have been carried out fairly.

“At present the low-income people are not enjoying this scheme and the new voucher system that was introduced recently is another ad hoc measure taken by them,” he said.

Despite this, Safarizul said many flat dwellers were not enjoying the voucher system as well.

Selangor MCA chairman Datuk Donald Lim said they would wait and watch the effectiveness of the system.

He said they had not commented on the system yet as it was only fair to give time for it to work.

“There are many problems when it comes to bulk meter system in apartments as there are those who do not pay bills and face water cut.

“At this juncture, the state government needs to look at the whole issue and rectify the flaws,” he said, adding that bulk meters were more expensive.

Lim added that there were many poor people in the Klang Valley due to migration from small towns.

“As for the voucher system, we will see how it is distributed. We want to see how genuine they are and the fairness of the state government,” he said.

In June 2008, it was announced that domestic consumers in Selangor who are using individual meters would be able to enjoy free water for the first 20 cubic metres.

Those whose supply is linked to bulk meters – including residents of flats, apartments and condominiums – have not been enjoying the free water scheme.

At present, residents of flats, condominiums and apartments are already paying a higher rate at RM1.38 per cubic metre for the first 20 cubic metres compared with domestic consumers who pay only RM0.57 per cubic metre.

The coupon system for flat dwellers was introduced in May as the change from bulk meters to individual meters was costly and time consuming.

The Selangor Housing and Property Board would issue coupons (worth RM12.08 for 20 cubic metres of water) to Commissioner of Buildings (CoB), which would then distribute them to the management bodies of the low-cost flats monthly.

The residents could use the coupons when settling their water bills with the management bodies.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Irbahim had said the total value of coupons for 620 low-cost flat blocks in the state, with 168,479 owners, would work out to RM24.5mil a year.

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