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Assurance from Keng Yaik that
the new Water Services Industry Bill will not be used to force collection of
the over RM500 million outstanding sewerage debts although the new law will
provide for one bill for water and sewerage and the disconnection of water
supply for non-payment of sewerage service
Media Statement (2)
This was one of the matters I was very concerned about when attending the briefing by Keng Yaik for Opposition MPs in Kuala Lumpur this morning on the two water bills, the Water Services Industry Bill and the Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN) Bill.
Under Section 89(2) of the Water Services Industry Bill 2006, water supply may be disconnected for non-payment of
(i) water supplied
(ii) services rendered in connection with the supply of water;
(iii) sewerage services rendered; or
(iv) deposit required for the supply of water or sewerage services.
It would be most unacceptable if this provision in the proposed water legislation is used to compel collection of over RM500 million outstanding sewerage charges which IWK had not been able to collect from the people going back to 1997..
I suggested that as different services are provided by different licensees as far as water and sewerage are concerned, there should be separate billing for the two services instead of one as provided in the Bill.
One important point highlighted by Opposition MPs at the briefing and dialogue today is that the Water Services Industry Bill should make clear in its Preamble the directive policy principle that water is a human right and a public good, and that access to “clear, colourless and odourless” quality water should be a legally binding responsibility of the state to supply in affordable and adequate quantity.
As water service is a public service, countries like Uruguay and the Netherlands have pioneered legislation to make water privatization illegal to give recognition to clean water, like clean air, as a basic human right.
During the dialogue discussion, subjects discussed include water privatization, composition and scope of the water forum, parliamentary oversight, compensation to consumers for poor customer service, transparency of the new water regime and structure for the new water supply services and sewerage service industries.
Keng Yaik said that the two water bills would be presented for all three readings in the forthcoming 30-day parliamentary meeting starting on Monday and ending on May 4. He indicated that there would not be substantive amendments to the two bills after the consultation process which had involved 41 briefings, seminars and workshops with interested parties.;
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