Penang will still enjoy the lowest water tariffs in Malaysia. (En/Cn)

Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 4 April 2014.

I am not surprised that New Straits Times and the mainstream media has politicised the state government’s decision to raise water tariffs instead of focusing on our main intention of reducing water consumption to avoid water rationing in future. The mainstream media had either selectively published distorted and inaccurate information or reduced our explanation to the local pages whilst prominence is given to criticisms in the national pages.

The state government has a responsibility to do everything possible to avoid water rationing and will not allow the important issue of water resources and availability to be politicised. Despite Penang having the best water supply management of a Non-Revenue Water(NRW) at 17.6% as compared to the national average NRW of 36.4%, Penang has the worst water demand management in the country with a consumption of 311 liters per capita per day.

Much as we do not wish to increase water tariffs, Penang’s water consumption in the country that is 50% higher than the national average of 212 liters per capita per day, is simply just not sustainable. The public must be made aware of the severity of the drought and the real possibility of water rationing following the shocking decision by the Perak state government to impose water rationing yesterday in Taiping, the wettest town in Peninsular Malaysia.

The Penang state government stresses that even after we raise water tariffs, Penang will still enjoy the lowest water tariffs in Malaysia. The Penang Water Supply Corporation or PBAPP had subsidised nearly RM 70 million last year to maintain the domestic tariffs to be the lowest in the country at 31 cents for the first 35,000 liters per month. This 31 cents is more than half the national average of 66 cents, with the most expensive water being Johor at 105 cents.

The state government will have to actively justify the need to raise water to avoid water rationing by relying on Bulletin Mutiara or other media which are fair and neutral to justify why it is essential to raise water tariffs. This was highlighted in Letters to The Star published today by Alice Brewster who asked for professional water experts to do the job to explain to the public. She wrote,

“The more water you use, the more you pay

WATER rationing? Some might attribute this recent “drought” to climate change but in the 16 years I have been in Penang I remember that every six or seven years we have a dry spell like this. I would call it “a cycle”.

They’ve been happening for centuries. But in view of these cycles and the increased population, what should we do about it?

The cost should reflect the consumption and usage, just like electricity. The more you use, the more you pay.

I am an American who has been living in Penang for almost 16 years now. Every month when my water bill of RM7 or RM8 comes I say to my maid, “How can they pay the man who reads the meter, the clerk who types the bill, the postage to deliver the bill and possibly do any maintenance or upgrades of the water systems – the pipes, the filtration, etc. (correction: Penang water bill is calculated once every two months)

Well, obviously they can’t and any time you have a subsidy of this sort there is going to be an outcry when the fees increase to any reasonable level.

The rates are going to have to be raised as stated by Penang’s Chief Minister in “Water rates to go up in Penang to curb rising demand” (The Star, April 3).

This is no longer a sleepy little Island where a few thousand are using a few gallons of water a day.

There was a big public outcry when it was announced that there was going to be an increase in the price of sugar and other commodities which are subsidised.

The Government backed away. They are aware of what happened in other countries, such as Venezuela and Nigeria, when their governments tried to raise the price of petrol.

And the same could be true in Malaysia unless it is done properly.

How do we get this message across to the masses without creating riots and civil unrest?

One way would be a big information campaign in the newspapers, on billboards and especially at the hawker stalls and wet markets.

People need to know the reason for the increase. It needs to be explained in public forums – not by politicians but by the water board, itself. There are a lot of early retirees from all professions who might be recruited for this job.

ALICE BREWSTER
MM2H, Penang”

I have heard public concerns of the impact of the proposed water tariffs hike on large families who are paying Water Conservation Surcharge(WCS). I will propose to the PBAPP that for families with 8 or more family members, they shall be given a 60% discount on WCS beginning 1 May 2014. These large families will need to go to PBAPP and produce the ICs of those staying in their homes to qualify for this discount. PBAPP CEO Jaseni Maidinsa shall be handling the mechanics or kindly contact the following

Contact : Puan Syarifah Nasywa bt Syed Feisal Barakbah
Corporate Communications Unit
Tel : 04-201 3231
Email : [email protected]

LIM GUAN ENG

槟州首席部长林冠英于2014年4月4日在乔治市发表声明:

当《新海峡时报》及主流媒体政治化州政府提高水费的决定时,而不是把焦点放在我们要减少用水以防范未来配水的意图时,我一点也不出奇。主流媒体要不选择性扭曲及报道错误讯息,要不在本地版减少我们的解释,然后在全国版突出批评者的声音。

州政府有责任尽一切努力来防范配水问题,而不是让水资源的重要问题被政治化。尽管槟城拥有最好的水供管理以及最低的无收益水17.6%(全国平均为36.4%),槟城的水需求管理却是全国最糟的,每天人均用水量为311公升。

正如我们不希望提高水价,槟城的用水量是全国最高的,比全国每日人均用水212公升高出50%,这是无法永续的。公众必须要知道干旱的严重性及配水的可能性,因为霹雳州政府昨天开始在马来半岛雨量最高的太平实施配水。

槟城政府强调,就算我们抬高水价槟城依然是全马水价最低的州属。槟城水供机构在去年已经津贴将近7000万令吉,以维持全国最低的家庭用水价格,那就是一个月首35000令吉31仙。这个31仙是全国平均水价66仙的一半,水费最高的是柔佛105仙。

州政府会努力通过《珍珠快讯》或其它公平中立的媒体,阐明调高水价的必要性。今天《星报》读者Alice Brewster也要求专业的水专家来解释。

你用越多的水,就缴费越多

配水?有些人可能认为是最近“旱季”气候变化造成,但我在槟城住了16年,记得每六七年就有类似的干旱,我称之为“一个周期” 。

这已发生几个世纪了,但从这些周期和人口增加来看,我们该怎么做?水的成本应该看用水量,就好象电力,你用的越多,就缴费越多。

我是一个美国人,在槟城住了近16年,每月我收到7令吉或8令吉的水费账单时我问帮佣,“他们要如何支付阅读水表员?记录水费账单的员工?账单邮费?还有可能维修或提升水供系统,如水管和过滤等的费用。(译者编:其实槟城水费单以两个月计算)

嗯,很明显他们无法这样做,只要有津贴,不管什么时候,任何合理的加费都会引起一片哗然。

水费将不得不涨价,诚如槟城首席部长说的,“槟城将调高水费以遏制不断上涨的需求量。 ”(4月3日,《星报》)

这不再是一个只有数千用户每一天使用几加仑水量的沉睡小岛。
当政府宣布提高一些津贴品的价格,如白糖和其他物品曾引起很大的民众哗然。
政府打退堂鼓了,他们清楚在其他国家的政府试图提高汽油价格时发生了什么事,如委内瑞拉和尼日利亚。 这可能发生在马来西亚,除非处理得非常好。
我们该如何不制造骚动和内乱的情况下,将这讯息传达予民众 ?通过报章、看板,尤其是小贩中心和巴刹进行大型资讯宣传是一个方式。

人民需要知道涨价的原因,这必须在民众论坛中解释,不过不是由政治人物解说,而是水务委员会,许多提早退休的专业人士可以担任此职。

ALICE BREWSTER
槟城,第二家园计划

我也听到公众关于水费涨价对缴付着水源保护附加费的大家庭的影响。我会向槟城供水机构建议,那些拥有超过8人或以上的家庭,他们应该在2014年5月1日开始,给予60%的折扣。这些大家庭需前往槟城供水机构,出示家庭成员的身份证以获得这项折扣。槟州供水机构总裁加西尼将处理这项机制。

联络人 : Puan Syarifah Nasywa bt Syed Feisal Barakbah
Corporate Communications Unit
Tel : 04-201 3231
Email : [email protected]

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