Selangor water deal leaves Anwar out in the cold, says Zaid

Zaid Ibrahim believed that the Selangor government’s water agreement with Putrajaya thwarted Anwar Ibrahim’s plans to privatise the Selangor water industry. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Zaid Ibrahim believed that the Selangor government’s water agreement with Putrajaya thwarted Anwar Ibrahim’s plans to privatise the Selangor water industry. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PETALING JAYA, Feb 27 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s plans to privatise the Selangor water industry have been thwarted by the state government’s agreement with Putrajaya yesterday, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim claimed today.

Zaid, who plans to contest the Kajang state assembly by-election in a race against Anwar, said the Selangor state’s deal with the federal government is a major blow for the de facto opposition leader and removes a key reason why he wants to become state chief minister.

“It won’t make a difference now if Anwar wins Kajang. He (Khalid) has done a checkmate,” Zaid told reporters here.

Yesterday, Selangor and Putrajaya signed an agreement to reorganise water utility in the state, which could lead to the construction of the long-opposed Langat 2 water treatment facility.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the political rivals was signed by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Energy, Water and Green Technology Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili at a hastily-convened event in Putrajaya.

“If Anwar becomes MB, he will want to privatise and control the water industry.

“Is it so that the profits can be given to PKR and its cronies just like how it was done in Umno?” Zaid, a former minister, asked.

PKR said yesterday it was unaware of the newly-minted water deal to reorganise water utility in the state, and that it is demanding an explanation from the state government.

“The state government did not inform the party of this,” PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.

But Zaid scoffed at Rafizi’s remarks, saying it was impossible that the party had no idea of MB Khalid’s plans.

“The water deal is necessary and is a good move on the part of Khalid as well as the federal government, it has been a problem plaguing Selangor for a long time,” he explained.

Under the MoU , Selangor will take over the operations of four water concessionaires — Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash) — and will place these under the state-owned Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Sdn Bhd.

The acquisition of the water supply infrastructure carries a price tag of RM9.65 billion

In exchange, Selangor agreed to approve the development order for the Langat 2 water treatment plant effective today and ensure all necessary approvals would be given within 30 days from yesterday.

Water supply in Selangor has been a contentious issue since the state fell to Pakatan Rakyat in Election 2008, with the residents experiencing repeated supply outages that the state administration alleged were due to sabotage by the rival Barisan Nasional coalition.

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