Most Selangor voters believe water shortage due to politics, survey shows

8 September 2014

The number one issue that Selangor voters want resolved soon is the state’s water shortage, with the majority of them believing that politics is behind the constant disruption in water supply, according to a recent survey.

The joint survey by The Malaysian Insider and Merdeka Center found that water supply topped Selangor voters’ list of concerns at 43%, followed closely by crime (40%), cost of living (20%), affordable housing (19%) and traffic congestion (11%).

Asked whether they believed the water crisis was due to politics, 63% of the 808 respondents said “yes”. They were polled from August 11 to August 17.

However, voters were split over who was responsible, with 24% blaming the state government, 22% blaming Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas), and 22% blaming the weather.

Voters were also almost equally divided on whether or not the state’s water resources were well-managed, with 40% saying yes and another 48% saying no.

“As far as the public is concerned, all they want is regular and uninterrupted water supply. They are not really interested in the issue of the takeover (of water services by the state), or the construction of Langat 2,” Merdeka Center executive director Ibrahim Suffian told The Malaysian Insider.

“They believe it’s political because they are increasingly aware of the wrangling between the state government under Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and Syabas over this water issue.”

But he said that people were not sure exactly who to blame as there were many different views and the situation was “fluid”.

When asked whether Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters might have pinned the blame on Syabas, while pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) voters had fingered the state government, Ibrahim said this was possible.

“But the dynamics are changing, so now it’s difficult for the people to decide who is responsible. The issue itself is nearing conclusion as we speak, with different parties working out the agreement.”

The Selangor water restructuring agreement was one of the six reasons PKR wanted Khalid removed from his menteri besar post, according to the party’s 24-page report “The Decision to Replace the Menteri Besar”, which was distributed to DAP and PAS on August 5.

The report said Selangor was on the losing end of the deal, as the federal government had obtained the state’s approval to construct the Langat 2 water treatment plant without being obligated to force a takeover of the water concessionaires.

Another reason Khalid had to go, according to PKR, was the controversial Kidex highway project.

The party accused him of ignoring public criticisms and defying Datuk Seri Dr Anwar Ibrahim’s call against burdening the people with more toll charges.

Voters polled by Merdeka Center generally supported PR’s position to reject proposals to build new toll roads, with 57% of respondents agreeing with the coalition’s stance.

However, a breakdown of the respondents’ ethnicities showed that Malay voters were almost equally split over PR’s stance on toll roads, while most Chinese (78%) and Indians (64%) agreed with PR’s rejection.

More than half (58%) of the respondents also disapproved of the state government’s decision to allow another six new toll roads to be built in Selangor.

Again, Malay voters were split over the matter, with 45% agreeing to it and 44% opposing it. In contrast, 74% and 67% Chinese and Indian voters, respectively, did not agree to another six toll roads being built.

Ibrahim said Malay voters were split between political loyalty to BN and personal interests.

“A big chunk of the Malays live in rural areas of Selangor, where they are not affected by toll roads and are not so concerned. Some even think it helps with the development of the state,” he said.

“Those who live in the centre of the Klang Valley, near either side of the Federal Highway, are of mixed ethnic background and they are against tolls.”

The survey also revealed that Selangor voters were almost equally divided on the Selangor Islamic Council (Mais) and Department’s (Jais) seizure of Malay and Iban-language Bibles in January.

Almost half (45%) of the voters polled said that Mais and Jais had either “somewhat overstepped” (19%) or “very overstepped” (26%) their authority in seizing the Bibles, while 35% said they had “not overstepped” (28%) and “somewhat not overstepped” (7%) their authority.

Most of those who believed the religious authorities had acted appropriately were Malay – 64% of Malay voters in Selangor believed that Mais and Jais had not overstepped their authority, according to the survey.

In contrast, only 7% and 8% of Chinese and Indian voters, respectively, felt the same way.

Ibrahim said the Malays in Selangor were largely a conservative lot, with the majority of them being BN supporters.

“The survey shows that anything to do with Islam, or royalty, the Malays tend to take the traditional line. A lot of people are not testing the boundaries,” said Ibrahim.

Since Malays were largely BN supporters, they were also more likely to follow the coalition’s stance on the matter, he said.

In June, Selangor BN had expressed support for MAIS and its refusal to return the seized Bibles to The Bible Society of Malaysia.

Khalid had also faced mounting pressure from PKR to resign over his handling of the Bible raids, before he was finally sacked from the party on August 9. – September 8, 2014.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Monday, 8 September 2014 - 11:50 am

    40% think our water resource is well-managed? Malaysia do not manage ANY RESOURCE well..- you name it, tin, timber, oil, gas, dams, agriculture, land, air, traffic, people etc, NOTHING is well managed, just not disastrous….

  2. #2 by megaman on Monday, 8 September 2014 - 12:11 pm

    Even disasters are not managed well … Remember MH370 and Lahad Datu ?

You must be logged in to post a comment.