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PETALING JAYA: The Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) has pointed out that the Environment and Water Ministry (Kasa) does not have the jurisdiction to extend Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd’s (IWK) concession agreement.

It said IWK had made various attempts to extend the concession and to avoid being restructured under the National Water Services Industry Restructuring plan.

“Unfortunately, Kasa does not have jurisdiction to extend the concession agreement of IWK. Kasa can only end existing concessions that are listed in Water Services Industry Act 2006 (WSIA) and restructure these agreements to follow NWSIR using WSIA model,” said Awer president Piarapakaran S in a statement today.

He elaborated that the restructuring plan gave birth to the WSIA and National Water Services Commission Act 2006, as well as amendments to federal constitution and state enactments to provide executive powers to the federal government over water treatment and supply and breaking up sewerage services to be merged with state-based water companies. These changes do not apply to Sabah and Sarawak.

Initially IWK’s concession was slated to end on March 31, 2022 but the ministry entered an agreement to extend the concession for another 12 year on Aug 12, 2021.

Awer rejects any steps that derails from the NWSIR and urged the prime minister and his cabinet to stop IWK’s extension. The association opined that the authorities should stick to the restructuring model that was agreed upon prior to amendment of Federal Constitution in 2006.

“We need to implement the National Water Services Industry Restructuring to ensure water security is achieved. Any derailment will only threaten Malaysia’s water supply security and will cost us more in the near future to mitigate arising problems,” warned Piarapakaran.

In regards to the restructuring, it has proposed to the Finance Ministry in the 2022 budget consultation to break IWK’s operations into state-based entities to be merged into the state’s water companies in three phases.

Upon completion of the merger, it opined that water companies can optimise treated water, treated effluent, waste to wealth and business integration and reduce water treatment cost among others, which eventually lead to equitable water tariff and self-sustaining water services industry.

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