Move to break water deadlock

PETALING JAYA - The Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry is discussing with several water concessionaires in Selangor before holding talks with the state government in an attempt to end the water deadlock within the three-month deadline.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the Cabinet had given its approval to proceed with further discussions and fine-tuning of the proposals submitted by the Selangor government.

"The ministry had met with several state water concessionaires to discuss the takeover by the state government and the Cabinet had given its approval to pursue the negotiations. We will soon respond to the series of Selangor government proposals in respect of the takeover," he told reporters after launching the 5th National Energy Forum here yesterday.

Depleting treated water reserves in Selangor had led to the Federal Government calling for the construction of the Langat 2 project, which has been reported to be able to treat about 1.89 billion litres of raw water.

In July, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had reportedly said he was willing to discuss the project with the Federal Government.

The state had asked for RM11bil for the valuation of the water assets after it gave up on plans to consolidate the water assets before the takeover by Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB) but due diligence conducted by PAAB is believed to have valued Selangor's water and related assets at some RM9bil.

Dr Ongkili stressed that the Federal Government was open to the idea of the takeĀ­over but it must be in accordance with the Water Services Industry Act and that Selangor's attempt to take over water concession in the state must be based on the "willing buyer, willing seller" concept.

Asked about the water disruption following the diesel spillage into Sungai Selangor, he said that this showed that the water plant treatment project was crucial to ensure that there would be sufficient water for consumers in the state.