SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
DURING WORLD WATER DAY 2015
26th April 2015 AIR ITAM DAM
SAVE WATER, AVOID RATIONING AND ENJOY
THE MOST “PEOPLE-FRIENDLY” HOUSEHOLD WATER BILLS IN MALAYSIA
As we commemorate World Water Day 2015 at the Air Itam Dam today, I would like to emphasise 3 key points about water supply in Penang:
1. Firstly, the Penang State Government intends to keep its promise of avoiding water rationing in Penang at all costs.
In 2014, rationing was implemented in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor as well as in some districts in Perak (Taiping), Negeri Sembilan and Johor. There was no rationing in Penang in 2014.
Earlier this year, Negri Sembilan and Johor had to implement water rationing due to water shortages. Certain parts of Selangor experienced water interruptions due to contaminated raw water sources during the recent dry season. There is no rationing in Penang thus far in 2015.
I would like to commend PBAPP for doing an effective and efficient job in avoiding water rationing. PBAPP will have to keep up the good work because we do not want to cause hardships for the people and losses to the thousands of businesses that provide employment to the people.
2. Secondly, the Penang State Government and PBAPP need the people’s cooperation to avoid water rationing. All we are asking is for you to use less water, and to use water wisely. As mentioned by Ir. Jaseni, please visit www.pba.com.my for water saving tips today.
We need you to conserve water because of climate change. Compared to 10 years ago, it is now hotter, hazier and drier in Penang at certain times of the year. The annual rainfalls that fill our dams are less predictable. We cannot fight climate change, so we have to adapt by using less water so that we always have enough for all.
We also need you to conserve water because the Federal Government and Perak have stalled or turned their backs on their promise of developing the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme (SPRWTS). The SPRWTS was proposed by Penang to allow us to tap a second and alternative raw water resource in this age of climate change towards Year 2050. However, the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, or KeTTHA, does not want to mediate discussions between Perak and Penang. Instead, KeTTHA has asked us to “negotiate” directly with Perak on the SPRWTS.
Meanwhile, Perak has indicated that it only wants to sell Penang treated water when what we need is raw water. Clearly, this idea by Perak is not practical because their price will be too high. Our water tariffs will at least triple if not more if we are forced to buy treated water from Perak.
That said, the Penang State Government and PBAPP will not give up on the SPRTWS. The Federal Government must be held accountable for undertaking this critical raw water resource development project in accordance to the 2011 agreements signed when Penang migrated to the National Water Services Re-structuring Initiative. We will continue to push but we do not know when this project will materialise.
Until the Federal Government keeps this promise to Penang, we ask all Penangites to “save water”, just to be “safe.”
3. Thirdly, as your “people-friendly” State Government, we would like to emphasise that there is a good benefit or reward to using water wisely in Penang. If you use water wisely, your household will enjoy the most “people-friendly” average domestic tariff for the first 35,000 litres per month at RM0.32 per 1,000 litres.
Please let me be clear about this: no one else charges RM0.32 per 1,000 litres for the first 35,000 litres per month, anywhere else in Malaysia.
Please do not be fooled or misled by certain parties who proclaim that water tariffs have been raised too many times, or that Penang’s tariffs burden the
people, or that the timing of the water tariff review is “untimely”, “suspicious” or whatever. We have only raised domestic tariffs once since the 90s and this
is to conserve water as water is wasted when the
tariffs are too low.
Instead, consider the following simple facts and figures:
If your household uses less than 35,000 litres of water per month, you pay an average of RM0.32 per 1,000 litres.
More than 7 out of every 10 households in Penang use less than 35,000 litres of water per month.
Penang’s RM0.32 per 1,000 litres is less than 50% of the national average of RM0.66 per 1,000 litres. Kedah charges RM0.67, Perak charges RM0.73 and Johor charges RM1.05.
As such, 75.3% of all households in Penang enjoy the most “people-friendly” domestic tariffs in Malaysia today. This is a fact. It is the simple truth that nobody can deny.
Moreover, the remaining 24.7% of households are given the option of conserving water to enjoy the same privilege. Unlike the GST that burdens everyone, that nobody can avoid, Penang households can reduce consumption to avoid paying more for water supply.
As such, the Penang Water Tariff Review 2015 is an urgent water demand management initiative to
reduce water consumption in Penang so that we may avoid water shortages and rationing.
It is also a “people-friendly” initiative that rewards the majority of domestic households in Penang who use less than 35,000 litres of water per month. We cannot avoid the effects of the Federal Government’s GST, but if you make the right choice, you can pay much, much less than the national average for domestic water supply in Penang.
So, please choose Penang’s “people-friendly” option. Save water and use water wisely today.