Gerakan: It is SPAN's job to keep tabs on water operators

PETALING JAYA: The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) has a duty to question water operators if their revenues were still not enough to cover rising costs despite three rate hikes in six years, said Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Liang Teck Meng (pic).

Responding to allegations by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Liang in a statement said Lim was trying to avoid disclosing a December 2016 application letter from Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang (PBAPP) to request for massive increases in water rates yet again.

Liang said the letter will show the intention of the Penang government to force consumers and businesses to pay huge water rate increases to cover the large increases in the water operator's expenses and annual state government spending that has increased 500% since 2008.

"To now accuse the Federal govt or SPAN of forcing the Penang Govt to increase water rates is wrong and slanderous," said Liang, who is also SPAN chairman.

He said the letter will also show the Penang government's plans to collect an additional RM150mil per year from consumers and businesses in the state.

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

"Suing YAB Lim for defamation as recommended by him will be costly and time-consuming for both of us. This can be avoided by disclosing the letter," said Liang.

Liang said that in the interest of transparency, Lim should stop the diversion and release the letter.

Lim had been previously reported as saying that Liang had behaved unprofessionally, accusing him of breaching his duty in asking permission to reveal the letter.

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






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