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Mar 26, 2008

Free water: Decision soon, says Selangor MB

ImageSHAH ALAM, March 26(English Section) - Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has today indicated that he would soon make an announcement on the possibility of the state offering consumers up to 20 cubic metres of free water.

Khalid also said a decision would be made Friday on the water supply agreement controversially entered by the previous state government with two companies on the eve of polling day.

At a press conference after chairing the new state government's first executive council meeting this afternoon, Khalid however declined to elaborate further on the possibility of the free water.

He however promised to give the people the "best deal" regarding the water supply agreement.

"We'll give you the best deal. We are talking about a win-win situation (between) the state, federal government and consumers. Last time, the calculation did not include the consumers," he said.

"So support us, then we'll deliver it to you. We will make an announcement in two days," he said in a room packed with members of the media.

The People Justice Party (KeADILan) leader also contested the claim by Energy, Water and Telecommunications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor who yesterday declared that the agreement was valid.

Commenting on this, Khalid said: "(The agreement) can stand but I think the consumers would want assurance from Shaziman that it was a fair deal to the people of Selangor."

"If it is not a fair deal to them, we will ask them to write letters to Shaziman that he has not acted in the interest of the people.

"Both the federal and the state governments can review the agreement. Selangor is also a party to the contract," he said.

According to media reports, the agreement dated Dec 15, 2004 was to take effect on April 1, 2007 and due to expire on April 30, 2034.

However an agreement between the three parties and the federal government was signed on March 7, 2008 - a day before the general election.

On another development, Khalid said that exco member Ronnie Liu who is in charge of local government, research and development will be tasked to resolve hillside development-related problems.

"He will be meeting local government representatives in Ampang and other areas with hillside developments to advice the exco on what further action can be taken by us," he said.

Khalid also said land grants will no longer be given to individuals but to institutions with close relations to the state government.

He said that schools and religious buildings will be charged a nominal rent of RM1 per year as a sign of support in their activities.

The Selangor Menteri Besar also wanted the state exco members' plans to appear in a local state radio station to interact with listeners and get feedback from the people but a source said this would be unlikely to happen because the station in question was controlled by the federal government.

He also proposed to impose about RM10 charge per month for employers using the service of each foreign workers. He said the collected charge would be used for "youth development" in the state. - Saadon Aksah/ES


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