Moratorium on Syabas water disconnections which violate the fundamental human right of the poor to clean water

The Ministry of Water, Energy and Communications should issue an directive to Syabas to impose an immediate moratorium on water disconnections in the concession area of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya which affect the poor.

Last month, the Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) and MTUC had spoken up because they were appalled at the high levels of water supply disconnection in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya since water privatization in the last two years.

They had consistently argued that organising water for profits would lead to high levels of disconnections, a notion that violates peoples’ rights and access to clean water. Poor and vulnerable communities might be at risk.

CAWP and MTUC have been proven right and the Ministry should instruct Syabas to develop a humane way of collecting water bills, one where peoples’ right to clean water is not violated.

In April 2007, the Minster for Water, Energy and Communications informed Parliament that there were a total of 364,200 disconnections in the concession area, namely Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. It involved 257, 436 home disconnections; 106,100 industrial consumers; and 664 miscellaneous. The revenue from reconnection at RM 50 per reconnection fee is about RM 18.2 million in the last two years. Between January 2007 — September 2007 there were about 136,000 disconnections given that there were approximately 506 disconnections per day in the previous two years. The revenue from disconnections fees for nine months in 2007 is about RM 6.83 million.

In total since privatization there has been a total 500,820 disconnections with a revenue to Syabas at RM 25.04 million. More than 50 percent of all connections in the concession area have been disconnected.

The high number of disconnections demonstrates that Syabas is more interested in making money as opposed to inculcating financial discipline among water consumers in the concession area. Revenue from disconnections appears to be overwhelming.

Syabas had been busy disconnecting water even in the holy month of Ramadan. On one side, Syabas had been organizing buka puasa events and giving alms to the poor and orphaned children and on the other has been busy disconnecting water in homes including Muslim households. This is hypocritical.

Water disconnections during national holidays and religious festivities in a plural society like Malaysia are highly insensitive and the private concessionaire should show greater corporate social responsibilities and respectful of the sensitivities of multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia where the great religions of the world meet in confluence.

The Water, Energy and Communications Ministry or SPAN should requests Syabas to impose an immediate moratorium on all water disconnections during festival periods such as Hari Raya and Deepavali as well as institute an immediate investigation on Syabas on-going disconnection exercise, to find out the reasons for the high disconnections in the concession area; and to instruct Syabas to develop a more humane approach in collecting bills without penalizing the poor who already suffer from inadequate funds and families in high rise buildings. This should be done in consultation with other stakeholders.

Finally, the regulator (Jabatan Kawalselia) should explain the basis of imposing RM 50 for reconnecting water.

(Speech on the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications iduring the 2008 Budget committee stage debate in the Dewan Rakyat oo Monday, 26th January 2007)

  1. #1 by budak on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 1:54 pm

    the People had “forced” to choose Draconian Gov…
    given a choice they will not place these bunch of blood suckers into position… making them fatter and fatter with lies without blinking eyes…

    now, they go to control water for the poor Malaysian…
    no end of story…

  2. #2 by Jimm on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 2:04 pm

    Commercial values have far overtakes human values in Malaysia.
    What supposed to be ‘assisted in providing’ to Malaysian by the government have been ‘taken advantage by’.
    These poor families are common wage earners that government have not look into their welfare, but have bee nasking them not to seek higher salaries to keep the job market still prospective for FDI.
    In another hand, cost of goods especially those basic daily foods have gone up so much, what are the government going to do about that?
    Now, government asked common wage earners not to spend unless really in need. Just tell me, how can one family unit strive through their daily basic needs here in Klang Valley ?

  3. #3 by sotong on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 2:39 pm

    If the country is properly and efficiently managed, she and the taxpayers are capable of taking care of the basic needs of their people, including water.

    Privatisation = profiteering.

  4. #4 by smeagroo on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 3:09 pm

    we are at the mercy of all these privatised utility companies. Syabas is not alone. Look at TNB and TM. Same kind of high handed treatments.

  5. #5 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 4:44 pm

    When the GREATEST SHYSTER annouced PIRATIZATION to the world, he was also at the same time the self-proclaimed NEMESIS of the COlONIAL POWERS. by supposedly championing the downtrodden, he took the opportunity to enslave the next 5 generations of Malaysians by signing the most one-sided contracts given to his cronies. To those who hero-worshipped him, God bless you!!! I don’t think that there is anywhere else in the whole UNIVERSAL you can come across such acts which enslaved its population for so long and then told its people the contracts are under ISA!!!! If you trace the history of the written world, you can’t find an equivalent anywhere. Malaysians being what we are, BOLEH!! Come the next round of fuel price increase, try competing with our neighbours just on logistics cost. Thais may pay higher diesel cost, but they don’t have to pay for TOLL which, currently is as high as the toll for the goods transporters. Looking around at even the ASEAN region, we may find ourselves competing with Cambodia, Laos and MYanmar soon.

  6. #6 by mendela on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 6:35 pm

    Why Syabas dare not cut off water supply for the many money losing GLC companies like Perwaja and many others despite them not paying for years?

  7. #7 by toyolbuster on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 11:12 pm

    I had been a victim too. My total outstanding amount was RM42. and they charge me RM50 to reconnect. What I discovered after checking with friends with similar shocking experiences, is a common factor whereby syabas would deliberately skip a month to deposit the bill into your letter box. On the 2nd month, they would deliberately drop off the bill a few days late into your letter box.the next day, they come to disconnect your water supply claiming that you have not settled your bill for 2 months. When we try to argue that we were not given enough notice, their answer is simple, we had 2 months notice. TNB is worse. They have sub-contractors to do the job, each disconnection they do is RM30. You can imagine how they go crazy disconnecting as many units as they can manage, by the way, they work late too, coming to reconnect for you even till midnite. Remember the DBKL days when they have subcontractors happily towing away your cars.

  8. #8 by choonchoy on Monday, 26 November 2007 - 11:21 pm

    LKS, could you find out how much it cost to produce 1m3 of water before and after privatization?

  9. #9 by gilarhabis on Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 11:20 pm

    Same here. i forgot to pay the bill, and they cut off my water and leave a notice in my mailbox. To my surprise, the notice date is 15th, and mentioned that if i still not going to pay the bill, water will be disconnected on 25th, and guess what, i received that notice on 25th! wtf :|

    Same as TM, they will send you a reminder even you only owe them rm20, and asking you to clear the bill else they will temporarily disconnect your internet access and +RM10 for reconnection fee. Now wtf i want to make full payment to them as their service not even up to par? yet their so called customers support make me vomit blood!

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