GEORGE TOWN, Jan 11 — MCA and Umno today appealed to the Penang Pakatan Harapan (PH) government against raising water tariffs this year to avoid further financial strain on residents.
Penang MCA liaison committee spokesman Ooi Teik Liang said it is not the right time for the state administration to increase water tariff rates this year.
“Although the rate will still be the lowest in Malaysia after the increase, it will increase the daily living costs for the people,” he said in a press conference today after handing over an objection letter to the Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s office at Komtar here.
He said the increase in water tariff rates will lead to an increase in prices of beverages and any products involving water usage.
In the letter MCA submitted, signed by Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, the Barisan Nasional component party pointed out that this will be the fifth time that the state administration raised water tariff rates.
“This decision to increase water tariff rates is unacceptable and we are calling on the state government to review this decision,” it said.
Two days ago, Chow announced that the water tariff rates could see an increase of more than 20 per cent after a review.
He said this was in line with the federal government’s efforts to restructure the water supply services industry in the country.
Ooi said Sabah has announced that it will not review or increase its water tariff rates so Penang could follow suit.
“If Sabah can refuse to increase its rates, Penang can too,” he said.
Penang Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir expressed his shock and disappointment with the state government’s decision to increase the water tariff rates.
“This clearly proved that the Pakatan Harapan government does not care about the people’s wellbeing and they have forgotten their promises to fight for the people’s welfare,” he said.
He said the state government and the Penang Water Supply Corporation’s financial status were reportedly good and recorded surpluses each year so there were no reasons for the state to increase the water tariff rates to more than 20 per cent,” he said.
He said the state government should be concentrating on ways to reduce the costs of living of the people as promised and not to implement additional burden and costs on the people.
He said state had increased water tariff rates including its water conservation surcharge several times in the past 10 years.
In comparison, he said water tariff rates was not increased for 18 years when the state was under Barisan Nasional previously.
He too appealed to the state government to look at alternatives to collect revenue instead of increasing water tariff rates.