PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Industries in Selangor are worried about being at the mercy of profiteering parties selling them treated water at exorbitant rates, if they are subjected to water rationing.
Chairman of the Selangor branch of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Datuk Soh Thian Lai said its members had not complained about illegal sellers yet.
"As far as we know, our members are buying through Syabas at the normal rate of RM2.07 (S$0.80) per cubic metre.
"However, we are concerned that water rationing, if implemented in factories, will give rise to unscrupulous people selling water to companies at much higher rates."
A group of people are reportedly offering clean water to factories at the rate of RM1,000 to RM1,800 per tanker, as compared to the normal rate of RM800 to RM1,400.
Soh noted that some of the immediate problems factories are set to face are a lack of tankers for all, increased tanker fees and limited refilling stations, among others.
"During a meeting with National Water Services Commission (SPAN), we proposed that if rationing must be done for industries, they can do it one day off and one day on.
"This is because industries consume water at a different rate as compared to the consumers at residential areas," said Soh.
A food and beverage company based in Shah Alam would require alternative supply amounting to about 120 tankers of water a day, costing around RM150,000.
The company stands to lose about RM15mil a day in costs and sales as production will be stopped because of water shortage.
Association of Water and Energy Research president S. Piarapakaran said action could be taken against those who sell and buy water illegally for any reason.
"It amounts to water theft, punishable under the Water Services Industry Act by six months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or both.
"SPAN should also set a limit to the rate at which Syabas is allowed to sell water," he noted.
Water and Energy Consumer Association of Malaysia secretary-general Foon Weng Lian called on the regulators and enforcement officers to take action against such unscrupulous people.