Help resolve water shortage in Johor, urges minister

KULAI - The Federal Government should step in to help the Johor state government solve the prolonged water shortage affecting several areas for the past three months, said Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said he had brought up the matter in the Cabinet meeting on Friday, urging the Federal Government to look into the matter urgently.

He said while it was fine to seek divine intervention, the people cannot be praying and waiting every day for the rain to fall.

"A more concrete and long-term plan based on scientific facts needs to be introduced immediately to prevent the issue from worsening further and ending up like the Selangor water crisis," he said here yesterday.

He said that during the Cabinet meeting, Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili gave his word that he would look into the matter before figuring out follow-up actions.

Dr Wee added that he received numerous complaints about the water issue, which affected more than 640,000 consumers in residential, commercial and industrial areas in Johor Baru, Kota Tinggi and Pengerang since August.

The residents and business owners are also suffering from the scheduled water exercise as water levels in the Sungai Layang and Sungai Lebam dams fall further below their critical mark.

This needs immediate attention, Dr Wee said.

He said Johor was spearheading the country's economy for attracting record foreign direct investment into the state, and the water issue could affect the confidence of investors.

He said that the Government should consider building new and bigger catchment areas away from agricultural activities to prevent pollution in the water and exercise better control of farming activities near the areas.