Selangor water: Return it to the people


What is the dispute between the Selangor government and the federal government over water supply and distribution in the state all about?

Essentially, the state government wants to take over water operations in the state because it feels that the politcally well-connected private firm Syabas has been inefficient and not complied with the terms of the concession agreement. The federal government could well bail out Syabas – with public funds. The Selangor government is also against Syabas’ plan for a 37 per cent tariff hike.

It all began under Mahathir’s ill-conceived privatisation policy. The website airuntukrakyat goes on to explain:

• Starting in 1997, BN privatised the various water companies in Selangor.
• Since then, Syabas and the others have exploited the people by draining them of hundreds of millions in cash.
• At present, the Selangor State Government wishes to return the right to control these companies back to the people.

Syabas’ plan:
Year Tariff Increase
2009 37%
2012 25%
2015 20%

1. An audit report on Syabas showed more than 72 per cent of contracts worth RM600 million was awarded to companies chosen through direct negotiation not by open tender process.
2. RM 325 million is ‘missing’ when a detailed audit was conducted between the contracts awarded from year 2005 to 2007 and Syabas public account.
3. On June 2005, Syabas broke the agreement by using imported pipes from Indonesia worth RM375 million. The supplying company is reportedly owned by Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, CEO of Syabas. His salary is totalled at RM5.1 million per year or RM425,000 per month.
4. RM51.2 million was spent for Syabas’ office renovation even though Jabatan Kawalselia Air Selangor (JKAS) only approved a budget of RM23.2 million.
5. After the Selangor State Government stopped Syabas from drastically increasing the water tariffs, Syabas at the moment wishes to sue Selangor for compensation valued at RM1 billion.

Selangor’s plan:

Year Tariff Increase
2009 12%
2012 12%
2015 12%

What is Selangor’s plan?

1. The current Selangor State Government wishes to buy back the water concession in upholding the people’s right to sufficient, clean and affordable water.
2. Public assets like water must be managed by a people-oriented government body not by a profit-oriented company.
3. Four private water companies will be repurchased and placed in one body where water treatment and water distribution will then be conducted by a sole operator. This measures will increase efficiency  and reduce water tariff  due to the non-existence ‘transfer cost’ issue.
4. Stresses on integrity and transparency – as stated in the Enakmen Kebebasan Maklumat introduced by the Selangor State Government – the system aims to reduce cronyism and be more benieficial to the people.
5. With strong and unanimous support, the Selangor State Government will be able to regain control of these various water companies for the sake of the people, stress on integrity and transparency, and ensure access of sufficient water and rightfully regulated water tariff for all levels of society.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Syabas and Indah Water are all inefficient and pay its staff high salary without just cause.

They should take up technological challenges to turn waste water into drinking water like what Singapore has done in its Newater project. Sadly these ‘privatised’ organizations know only how to enrich its directors with easy money with no motivation to improve the welfare of rakyat.

Gerakan K

Gila !!!

Who wants to drink smelly water !!!


Who want to drink expensive water, dunggu!
Water that has no improved value but plain water!
Even with private home filtration to rid of smell, it is still cheaper than Syabas’s expensive water!

Only dunggus want to drink exploited, price hiked water of no enhanced value!


Gerakan K,

Only u drink the smelly water. We the rakyat will drink the clean water after Selangor government takes over from the Baring Naik’s Syabas.

najib manaukau

Shenanigan Mahathir started it just to ensure he gained the support of his cronies to remain as President of Umno and thereby as P.M. of Malaysia. How else do you think he managed to stay as P.M. for 22 years surely he was not that ‘popular’ ? Now that he had started the trend every other subsequent P.M. after him will continue his every habit of giving them their (goodies) just to gain from the Umno warlords their votes so as to remain as President of Umno and thereby as P.M. of Malaysia. This will remain for as long as… Read more »


you know why the federal govt wants the selangor govt to butt out. coz its hurting UMNO cronies. that man, a lawyer is drawing salaries in millions. what does he know about water management except to milk the govt dry. first, puncak securitise the debts and gave a huge dividend to him. second, he was using his companies including those under nominees to supply pipes at above-normal margins. third, it is industry knowledge he didnt gave two hoots in complying with the terms of the concession by importing pipes from his own company in Indonesia, which is clearly in contravention… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Water resources belong to the nature, it belong to the people, not any private entity! This unhealthy exploitation of water resources for profit making should be stopped.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone, If the Selangor State GOvt can offer much lower increase in water tariffs, all parties, especially Selangorians, should support the State Govt’s move to buy over the water concessions, which formerly, when privatised only serve to enrich UMNO’s cronies. If the Federal Govt is reluctant or refuse to support the State Govt’s move, then the rakyat would know that the BN govt only pays lip service in terms of serving the people! The UMNO-led Federal Govt would then once again prove to the people that rather than serving the people, they’re only serving to enrich BN crony individuals… Read more »


Ya, Sewel you are right abt that old monster but i find it very strange that during his tenure, everyone (except me) was like under his spell… everyone, practically was like singing his praises…

Indah water was created by him to cheat the people la…

the country is practically in a mess and yet we still have people love … BN’s … !!!


good point kee


Public utilities are the very basic that the people irrespective of rich or poor depends on, the Government has a fiduciary duty to ensure it is made available to he people at the minimum cost possible.

To privatize public utilities is licensing private enterprises a free hand in fleeing the people!


Anil, certain public utilities like water should never be privatised! I dont care what monetarists or economists say, some public utilities must remain public properties. Dont even get me started on Dr. Mahatir Mohd.! Every ill, every wrong that is happening in Malaysia today can be traced back to his running of the Government.

Anak Mami

When you privatised it to let umnoputera run the show, all rakyat will be screwed big time!


I think we’re missing an essential part of the puzzle: a working alternative. Statements of the kind “we’ll buy out the 5 companies and replace them with one operator to reduce cronyism!” are uncomfortably glib. My personal preference is that essential infrastructure such as water should not be in the private sector, but at the end of the day control over something as important as water is an extremely powerful position in which to be. How do we prevent the new beneficiary from being dishonest? Perhaps it can be done. As ever, the enormous problem to overcome is voter confidence.… Read more »

semuanya OK kot

Only after major administrative crimes like these are tackled can we begin to tackle health crimes like the use of asbestos in large pipes.


Asbestos pipes are NOT LONGER in use since in the 90’s. Further they cannot last long and withstand high water pressure and the joint lengths are short. They pose health problems to industries like UAC and Federal abestos.


Go state of Selangor!