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Have Puncak Niaga/Syabas been
let off scot-free for providing stinking, unacceptable and undrinkable tap
water to hundreds of thousands of households in Klang Valley after the Feb.
Firstly, are we heading towards an era of having the most number of Cabinet Committees in the nation’s history. Malaysians will want to know the number of Cabinet Committees headed by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively, as well as any other Cabinet Committees not headed by them and what this implies in terms of good and efficient governance.
Secondly, whether such a trend is a reflection of the growing loss of authority of the individual Ministers, both in the government bureaucracy and politically. The spectacle early this week of Puncak Niaga/Syabas CEO, Tan Sri Rozali Ismail publicly berating the Environment and Natural Resources Minister, Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid for having earlier criticized Puncak Niaga/Syabas for disclaiming responsibility for the foul smelling tap water supplied to homes in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor raised eyebrows all-round.
Has this become a test of political strength and influence rather than a strict case of accountability for public trust and integrity of public service?
How can Rozali refute Azmi’s criticism that Puncak Niaga/Syabas had disclaimed responsibility for the stinking tap water supplied to consumers when Rozali had not specifically denied or retracted his infamous statement:: “We treat raw water. If the river is polluted, how would you expect us to un-pollute it?” (New Straits Times 3.3.06)
Was Rozali flexing his political muscles to demonstrate that he commands greater political influence in UMNO and government than Azmi who was defeated in the UMNO Supreme Council elections in September 2004 though the latter retained as a Minister in the recent Cabinet “reshuffle”?
Thirdly, have Puncak Niaga/Syabas been let off scot-free for providing stinking, unacceptable and undrinkable tap water supply to hundreds of thousands of households in Klang Valley after the Feb. 26 flood, as this failure to provide quality drinkable water which “must be clear, colourless and odourless” is not mentioned as within the purview of the Cabinet Committee set up yesterday.
The quality of drinkable water is the result of a combination of protection of water sources, control of treatment processes and management of the distribution and handling of the water.
While the people await the resolution of the conflicting versions which had been given by different personalities and government agencies – including different versions at different times by the same personality as in the case of Azmi – with regard to the cause for the pollution of Sungei Selangor, the silence of the Selangor Mentri Besar, Datuk Dr. Mohd Khir Toyo and the Minister for Energy, Water and Communications, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik on the culpability and irresponsibility of Puncak Niaga/Syabas in providing stinking, unacceptable and undrinkable tap water to hundreds of thousands of households in the Klang Valley is thunderous.
Is Puncak Niaga/Syabas prepared to act as a responsible corporate citizen by publicly admitting its irresponsibility and to announce compensation to the affected households provided with the stinking, unacceptable and undrinkable tap water?
I will seek a clarification from Keng Yaik when he gives a briefing on the two water bills to Opposition MPs in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow morning as to whether Puncak Niaga/Syabas could be let off scot-free for providing stinking, unacceptable and undrinkable tap water to hundreds of thousands of households in the Klang Valley.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman