KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — The water tariff adjustment for domestic users starting February 1 is necessary to strengthen future resource management in the face of climate change, National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Charles Santiago said.

Santiago reportedly conceded that action ought to have been taken to address the matter at least a decade ago.

“Malaysia must invest to overcome issues and problems faced by our water operators.

“This is an investment by the people and the country into its future,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.


He said he had called for the tariffs to be reviewed as far back as in 2018 during the administration of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and subsequent administrations under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Yet, all chose to defer its implementation, he added.

Santiago said the tariff hike was now made possible due to the political will on the part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to do the right thing for the future well-being of the country.


He also said there was a need to address issues surrounding the loss of water before it reaches end users, known as non-revenue water.

He proposed that a sum of RM10 billion annually be channelled over three years to address the issue, adding that the costs could be shared between the federal and state governments and the private sector.

On January 17, SPAN announced an average water tariff adjustment of 22 sen per cubic metre for domestic consumers in Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan, which came into effect at the beginning of this month.

According to SPAN, the water tariff adjustment, reflecting the cost of water supply, is crucial to enable water operators to improve service levels in continuously providing quality water.

The new water tariff is expected to involve an increase in bill charges ranging from RM1.60 to RM8 for each residence, or five to 27 sen per day for household usage of 20 cubic metres per month.