Angry with accusation, Gerakan challenges Guan Eng to allow water rates letter to be revealed

PETALING JAYA: Gerakan has challenged Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to allow the party to reveal an application letter by Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) to prove its claim that it was not the Federal Government that wanted Penang to increase the state's water rates.

"I now challenge him to give us permission to reveal the application letter from the Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) to the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) dated Dec 23, 2006, detailing that the Penang government had approved a request for an increase of Penang water tariffs," its secretary-general Datuk Liang Teck Meng (pix) said in a statement on Sunday.

Liang, who is also the SPAN chairman, said that the letter will prove who was the real party who wanted to implement a "broad and big" increase in water rates across the board.

He claims this was separate from the water conservation surcharge for domestic and business users in Penang.

Liang said Lim's accusations of signalling that it was the Federal Government that wanted to increase water rates in Penang - in line with the other states - as "pure slander".

Liang claimed that the planned increase is aimed at collecting more than RM150mil per year from Penang people and businesses in order to save PBAPP from running into losses due to big jumps in spending.

"I also remind the Chief Minister that even before DAP came into power, Penang already had the lowest water rates and the lowest non-revenue water rates in the country," he said.

Liang added that despite the four increases of water rates by the Penang government, it was due to the previous Barisan National-led government that ensured domestic water rates in the state remained the lowest in the country.

It was reported that Lim said the Penang state government planned to increase water surcharge to reduce domestic usage.

This would be the fourth time that the state is raising the price of water, with the conservation surcharge possibly going up from 48 sen to RM1 per 1,000 litres if allowed by SPAN.







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