Liang: SPAN’s duty to quiz water operators if need arises

PETALING JAYA: The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) has a duty to question water operators if their revenues are not enough to cover rising costs despite three rate hikes in six years, says Datuk Liang Teck Meng.

The SPAN chairman said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was trying to avoid disclosing an application from Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang in December last year, requesting for another round of increase.

Liang said the letter would show that the Penang government had proposed a hefty increase in water rate, forcing consumers and businesses to pay more.

“Since 2008, the expenses of water operators and annual state government spending has increased by 500%.

“To now accuse the Federal Government or SPAN of forcing the Penang government to increase water rates is wrong and slanderous,” Liang said in a statement.

He said the letter would reveal the Penang government’s plans to collect an additional RM150mil per year.

“The amount is as much as what the state government collects in assessments and quit rent in a year,” Liang said.

“Filing a legal suit against YAB Lim for defamation will be costly and time-consuming. This can be avoided by disclosing the letter,” he added. He said in the interest of transparency, Lim should stop the diversion and release the letter.

Earlier, Lim accused Liang of behaving unprofessionally, accusing him of breaching his duty in asking permission to reveal the letter. Instead, Lim claimed that the Penang state government planned to increase its water surcharge to reduce domestic usage.






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