Gerakan swims upstream on 'block river' proposal.

Kedah Gerakan Youth has decided to swim upstream on the proposal to block the flow of the Sungai Muda river to Penang.

State Youth wing chief Tan Keng Liang (photo) said he disagreed with the suggestion made by Umno's Bakar Bata assemblyperson Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah in Alor Setar on Monday.

"The suggestion is not right... we should not block water from flowing to the state," he told Malaysiakini, when contacted.

Tan proposed that if the two states cannot resolve the issue, it should be raised in the coming Parliamentary sitting in September.

"We should try to refer the case to Parliament soon and let both sides of the divide debate the matter as prolonging it may cause friction between Kedahans and Penangites," he added.

Tan was referring to the statement by Ahmad Bashah who was quoted as saying in Sinar Harian that the move to block water to Penang was necessary as Kedah had rights over the river and no one can stop the state from deciding on such an action.

He added that it was not fair for Penang to take water from Kedah without any contribution or willingness to share the responsibility of preserving the state's water resources or forest reserves.

PAS gov't wanted to charge Penang for water

Tan recalled that the proposal to charge Penang for raw water from the Sungai Muda river was tabled by former PAS menteri besar Azizan Abdul Razak at the Kedah legislative assembly in November last year.

The proposal was tabled as part of the state's budget for 2013 and the PAS government's efforts to resolve huge deficits in its administration.

"(Penang) Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng may not be aware of this as discussion as it may have just been at the state executive level," said Tan.

"We should not be punishing Penangites based on what the PAS government did previously," he added.

Kedah and Penang have been locking horns over the water issue since Mukhriz Mahathir took over the reins of the Kedah state government after the May 5 general election.

Lim had dismissed Ahmad Bashah's statement as "immoral, cruel and un-Malaysian" as both Kedahans and Penangites are fellow citizens of Malaysia.

He pointed out that it was against international standards to prevent rivers from flowing into other states or countries or charging them for the usage of the water.

He reiterated his willingness to meet Muhkriz over the issue, adding that he was awaiting an official invitation from the latter's office.





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