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I Want Clean Water

Posted by Simon Templar On Monday, October 26, 2009

I've been waiting for reactions. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Nothing happened.

So, it is confirmed that nobody gives a damn about us Malaysians.

I am talking about The Star's report on 21 October 2009 titled 'Operators Fail To Follow Clean-Up Schedule'. Many people I spoke to had no idea what that article was all about. Many missed it because it was carried in the Metro section. But, this is a shocking revelation.

Dear People of Selangor, SYABAS did not wash our reservoirs a single time last year! And a particular treatment plant in Sungai Sireh has not been washed for 10 years. Click here to read more.

And SYABAS had this to say on another report on 23 October 2009, '40 Of 307 Reservoirs Cleaned':

"SYARIKAT Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd. (Syabas) said it had cleaned 40 of the 307 reservoirs in the cleaning programme in 2008 while the rest were rescheduled as the water quality in the reservoirs complied with minimum standards after scheduled inspections."

"He said based on the inspection carried out by the company, only 40 reservoirs needed to be cleaned urgently due to the poor water quality."

"With regard to the other reservoirs, the Government decided to put the programme on hold because in early 2008, the decisions was made to restructure the water sector in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, which led to the freeze of all Capex (capital expenditure) works."

Click here to read more.

Seriously, why do we have to live with this kind of nonsense? SYABAS is contracted to supply us with continuous supply of clean water.

And what? You only clean the reservoir when it is in bad shape? Hello... this is water! A key component of human life. And our health. What on earth are you talking about? Do you take a shower only when you are covered in mud? You have a cleaning program and you stick to it. That is the agreement. We do not want compliance with minimum standards. We want the best quality water money can buy. And that's why we pay you for water usage. And government delays the programme because there is a restructuring exercise? What bullshit is this? And what has capital expenditure got to do with cleaning the reservoirs? Capex is a balance sheet item. Cleaning is an income statement item. You don't have money to buy cleaning equipment? But you've signed up the water supply agreement aeons ago. Are you saying you had never been cleaning the reservoirs from day 1?

How many of us have had to deal with brown water from our tap over and over again? How many of us have had to deal with smelly water from our tap over and over again? How many of us have had to spend money to purchase water filters? Mind you, a good water filter costs a few thousand ringgit. And there's your maintenance costs as well. And we do not even know of the long term impact such filters of sand and charcoal may cause to our health in the long term.

For crying out loud, clean water is a 'given' item. It is one of the most basic of basic human rights. Look at the developed countries. They literally drink right from their tap. Where are we?

What has the Selangor government been doing? What happened to monitoring? The previous state BN government was only interested in taking from us. The present PR government is 'still new', 'inexperienced' and is nothing but a whole load incompetent squabbling fools.

Fellow Malaysians, nobody gives a damn about us. We are like orphans. We are on our own. And I say it is time we all stand up and be counted. They are our servants, not the other way around.

I am toying with this idea. Remember Erin Brockovich? Yes, class suit. Can the rakyat of Selangor who are (obviously) directly affected sue the daylight out of SYABAS? If this can be done, forget about the Selangor government having to buy them out. There will be nothing left by then.

Is there any good lawyer out there who wants to take this up? Can we agree to a success fee of say 10% of compensation? And talking about compensation, I am talking about every ringgit of water charges paid by every water user in Selangor for the past, say, 5 years. Plus, damages and compensation. SYABAS has failed in their duty of care and from the angle I see it, they have breached their contractual agreement to provide continuous supply of clean usable water.

Here is a suggested game plan:

1. Get a lawyer who has the balls to fight against the big boys. Some one who can stand up and live with the potential backlash from those in power.

2. Get a team of professional managers to oversee this project.

3. Start a fund-raising exercise. People of Selangor, this is your fight. And the people of Selangor are the richest in this country (no offense to the others). And in particular the Klang Valley-ites. I am confident we can raise a good few million bucks to keep things rolling. Heck, why not appoint professional fund managers to raise this money. We Selangorians can definitely afford this. The fund raisers get paid on success fee basis. I think a 10% cut is fair. And we will ensure that a Big 4 accounting firm audits the fund. I know for sure that they do many 'community service' audit for free (or a token sum).

4. With this mobilisation fund, engage subject matter experts to study the water system and quality. Don't worry, this will not be a futile exercise. Chances of them returning with nothing to report is as likely as the sun rising from the west.

5. With evidence and studies in hand, it's game on.

6. Our public relations chaps have work to do again. Spread the issue to every corner of the world. Make sure it causes a big hoohah. Make sure it rocks the country. Make sure it reaches the United Nations. With global scrutiny, the issue cannot be buried.

7. We can even hire the Queen's Counsel to advise us. Malaysian law is written based upon the English. And many laws have been in existence pre-1957. Can we have the case heard in some international court? I don't trust our judicial system.

8. Who are the plaintiffs? The rakyat of Selangor. Everyone with a water bill. The lawyers will be given a mobilisation fee from the fund raised to start a signature drive. Sign up and you stand to share the compensation pool (net of expenses).

This is an exercise much practised in developed nations. Why not here? Why are we so fearful to defend ourselves? Why must we continue to live on crumbs thrown out by the government. No, don't wait for Pakatan Rakyat. They are politicians as well at the end of the day. Why can't we start to stand up for ourselves?

I really hope something to this effect can be taken. I am fed up with having to live like a beggar in this country. Why should I compare myself to the Ethiopians or Somalians? Why can't I compare myself to the Swedes or Germans? I deserve more. You deserve more. We the orphans of Malaysia deserve more than this.

There are so much more that we can do. We can take Proton down for selling us suicide mobiles. We can take on PLUS for building killer highways with inferior raw materials. The list goes on. GLCs must be smacked hard right down where it hurts them most, or they will never wake up. It's not easy being a government. Being the CEO of a GLC is much more than pocketing large paychecks. You affect the lives of everyone in this country. We must deliver a strong message to these very people who are making our lives a misery. And they will have to learn it the hard way.


2 Response to "I Want Clean Water"

  1. Fi-sha Said,

    Sir, Im with you. I think the best water operator is SAJH. Comparing SYABAS (or SAYA TERBABAS) with SAJH would be a great case studies and could give us some hope to fight the big boys.

    Thanks for highlighting. Like you, Ive been waiting too...


  2. SYABAS is useless. Recently, I had to reactive a terminated account. Had to close terminated account, apply to get back my deposit, then reapply to open new accounts PLUS provide them with all required documentations again. Seems like we are just generating useless work to keep the staff busy.

    I called up the customer service to complain, the lady exact word "tak boleh complain tentang procedure, itu sudah ditetapkan". I could not get her to understand that the whole idea of having people feedback is so that you can enhance the stupid procedure... DUH! She was then totally lost when I asked her how can I complain about the customer service complaint line.


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