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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Selangor MB and deputy minister butt heads over Langat 2

Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (PKR-Bandar Tun Razak) today threw down the gauntlet to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry for a data-duel, to see who has more facts on their side in their ongoing dispute over the proposed Langat 2 water treatment plant.

"I show my data, they show their data... If I can prove that membrane technology is (a better solution), will the government agree?

khalid ibrahim selangor water“Will the minister agree to defer from pursuing the (Langat 2) project?" asked Khalid in a supplementary question during Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Khalid (left) elaborated that he had earlier written a letter calling for such a match-up but has yet to receive any response.

His question came following Deputy Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Noriah Kasnon's answer to the main question from Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) on the status of the project, which she said is being impeded by the withholding of a development order from the state.

In her answer, Noriah had lamented that the people of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya will ultimately pay the price of Khalid's refusal to cooperate, when water runs out in the state come 2013.

In their resulting exchange, the MB, however, maintained that fitting existing 10 selected water treatment plants out of the 27 in the state with membrane technology to increase water yields will cost less than the "high cost" of the Langat 2 plant, insisting that it is his duty to protect public interest and look for the most cost-effective solution.

S’gor playing ‘footsie’ with the issue

In response, Noriah was adamant that the Langat 2 plant is the best answer to the state's impending water woes and is the result of a long-term government study which had already discounted membrane technology as a viable option.

NONE"YB (Khalid) can say we are stupid, if we say you are stupid, you cannot except, we have done research since the 90s. All information points to our decision that the most economical and viable (option) is to transfer water from Pahang to Selangor."

She accused Khalid's administration of playing footsie with the issue, saying that by agreeing to cooperate with the government in the upgrading works on the Selangor water supply infrastructure, the state is indirectly admitting that a water shortage is coming.

Noriah (above) also discounted Khalid's much-touted membrane technology plans, saying that experts consulted by her ministry found the technology to be way more expensive then the Langat 2 project and is not viable in the long term as the real concern would not be processing capability, but where to get more raw water from the state's allegedly dwindling water supply.

Despite this, the PKR leader maintained that membrane technology remained one of other more viable alternatives to the plant.

Khalid was also heckled by Khairy and other BN MPs over his "recalcitrance" over the matter, although the MB defended his "stubbornness" as being for the good of the rakyat and to protect their interests, unlike "Umno's stubbornness" which he claimed is about stealing the rakyat's money.
Later, Khalid reiterated that the Selangor government is willing to accept the Langat 2 project if the federal government would agree to a water restructuring exercise.
"I already have the offer paper ready," he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby later.
He added that he had requested to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over the matter two weeks ago but has yet to receive a reply.
"But considering the Hari Raya holiday, we will send another letter soon but we hope to get this done by Nov 19 before the state legislative assembly sitting," he said.

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