Raise commercial water tariffs in Penang as well


While all the focus is on Penang’s high domestic water consumption, the Penang trade consumption is often ignored – but businesses enjoying cheap water guzzle 40 per cent of total Penang water consumption.

Graph: PBA
Graph: PBA

While the state government rightly calls on Penang’s domestic consumers to reduce their high per capita water consumption, it should also ask Penang trade consumers to curtail their water usage.

 Domestic consumption

2010 – 170.8 million cu.metres

2011 – 167.6 million cu metres

2012 – 173.5 million cu metres (increase of 1.6 per cent since 2010)

Trade consumption

2010 – 114.8 million cu. metres

2011 – 115.6 million cu. metres

2012 – 117.1 million cu metres (increase of 2.0 per cent since 2010)

And while the state says it may review the water tariff for domestic consumers (RM0.31 for first 35000 litres), which is less than half the average tariff nationwide (RM0.66), it should also review the water tariff for trade consumers. In Penang, the trade tariff is RM1.19 for the first 500000 litres compared to RM2.27 in KL. So the trade water tariffs should be reviewed as well. 

After all, why should domestic consumers alone bear the brunt of the tariff hikes?

Proposed water tariff increase: Penang Forum’s response

Penang Forum supports the recent announcement by the Penang Chief Minister, who is also the PBA chairman, that the domestic water tariff in Penang should be raised.

An initial minimum amount of water usage per household or per person can be priced low (to ensure accessibility for all), after which the tariff rates should increase with higher usage. People who use more should pay higher rates. This is done with other utilities such as electricity and by many authorities.

This issue should not be politicised as some politicians have done. Water is the source of life; yet most people take water for granted and it is often wasted until we face a shortage. Penang’s water tariff is the lowest in the country – unfortunately, the usage per person is the highest. The PBA and the State Government have been trying to educate and have appealed to Penangites to use water wisely but to no avail.

Hence using a step-up price mechanism is a good way to encourage people to conserve water. The follow-up statement by the Chief Minister to provide a 60 per cent discount for large households (eight people) may dilute and weaken the original objective as it may only encourage rather than discourage usage in these households. More effective alternatives should be professionally studied and evaluated before a final decision is made.

In addition to a review of the domestic water tariffs, Penang Forum recommends that the commercial water tariffs be reviewed as well.

Commercial water consumption accounts for 40 per cent of total water consumption in Penang, and like domestic water consumption, it has risen during the period 2010-2012.

A quick comparison shows that the commercial water tariff in Penang is significantly lower that that in other cities in the region. It is RM1.19 per 1000 litres (for the first 500,000 litres) in Penang – much lower than in Kuala Lumpur (RM2.27), Singapore (RM3.55), Bangkok (RM1.24), Manila (RM2.52) and Jakarta (RM4.33) (Source: PBA). It is also lower than the Peninsular Malaysia average of RM1.58 (in 2010).

We congratulate the Penang government for recognising the threat posed by climate change. But it is not enough to look at the demand side and build more infrastructure like dams; we must also protect the supply side. About 80 per cent of Penang’s water supply originates from the Ulu Muda forest, the remainder from within Penang. Thus it is crucial for us to protect the forests, water catchment areas and hills of Penang and Kedah. These help to promote condensation, cloud formation and rainfall while reducing rapid surface run-off. We should therefore put a stop to hill land being converted to development use (e.g. ‘Botak Hill’), encroachment and illegal clearing.

The suggestion in a local daily by a member of the public for the PBA and other professional volunteers (not politicians) to explain the reasons for a graduated water tariff increase is excellent and should be taken up. This campaign should be targeted at both the public and the business community.

Penang Forum Steering Committee
7 April 2014

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9 May 2014 3.23pm

Bolehland is a champion. We are among the world’s top contributors to climate change.

10 Apr 2014 9.32am

Keep my finger cross.Seems some topics just trigger “populist mood ” from many people. Indeed, I didn’t get much facts about what the Penang forum talk about. In fact, the forum should push it harder, with examples practice in other corner of the world, via the simplest google search. E.g. policy push that lead to innovation that use less water (rather than steal water in many corner of Bolehland(TM) ) , recycle some water, reuse of rain water, funding, awareness campaign,etc. Populist just go ignore the economy and financing factor. Thanks to Mahathirism(TM), local and state government can’t do much… Read more »

Plain Truth
Plain Truth
8 Apr 2014 8.36pm

Perhaps LGE will care to enlighten us whether the salaries and allowances ( if any ) he and his fellow Pakatan exco enjoy as Board of Directors are linked to PBA’s profitability.

On the same note, perhaps he can also tell us what particular water expertise Mat Sabu ( yes, the guy from PAS is also a Board director ) brings to the PBA as well.

9 Apr 2014 7.38am
Reply to  Plain Truth

In order to upgrade salary/incomes to match the rich & famous, one must by all means create ‘opportunities in crisis’ to justify an indirect increase of income to match his own Bing Chui MercS300Lansi-of-rubbing-shoulders with the richie & money-powerful.
Still believe in a CAT?

8 Apr 2014 3.12pm

Unfortunately, some “kiasu” people will never change from mere advice. In Selangor, there are still people washing cars and driveways, and watering their greenery often. Some do this twice a day. They may learn when their water bill is at least as high as their electicity bill. The states concerned seem half-hearted in the message to conserve water, let alone bringing in related laws. There is no need to re-invent the wheel or take overseas trips to “learn.” Just learn from municipal regulations in Australia, South Africa, etc. There is a great deal of wasteful, ostentateous renovation going on. Municipalities… Read more »

8 Apr 2014 2.57pm

There are two issues here which have to be addressed. First of all the CM personally assured Penangites on multiple occasions that there will be no water tariff increase. I too think that many penangites are wasting water because it is cheap but the CM should have been forthright from day one. I love the environment and would like to support water conservation efforts but I hate a lying CM. Secondly, water is not the only thing which we are wasting. Other non-renewable resources like petroleum are running out and burning of fossil fuels pollute the environment. When the federal… Read more »

8 Apr 2014 9.57am

You can’t lump all trade consumer in one lump. There should not be a problem passing on higher cost to big industry player – the problem lies in the small trade consumer which is very significant – the hawkers, the restaurants, small factories – that employ a lot of people and has a strong and very influential voice..These groups are very sensitive to any price increase given their labour intensive nature of their operation – you add cost and all it does is pop up elsewhere in price of goods, lower wages etc..

Rich Daddy
Rich Daddy
8 Apr 2014 3.12am

Next time when people mention Barang Naik, you should think they are referring to Dap as well.

p.s. Why during Gerakan times there was no tariff increase?

Awang Selamat Ori
Awang Selamat Ori
7 Apr 2014 11.51pm

Seoul is only 1.49. What is Penang compared to Seoul?

And why are we comparing water tariffs against all capital cities of their countries? Penang is not a capital city.

It was once a nice city now being wrecked by one Kapitan …! I think he should dine more at Kapitan.

Awang Selamat Ori
Awang Selamat Ori
8 Apr 2014 2.58am
Reply to  Anil Netto

If Penang wants to compare with Seoul, it must be as good as Seoul.

Seoul leaders in electrical and electronics, steel, automotive industries etc. Penang? Takes great pride in announcing Ikea’s investment. Ikea does not have to do much, in a couple of years, its investment in the land it bought will more than double.

Podah, DAP and LGE! Just hate to write about the stupid DAP! Pity Kit Siang.

Awang Selamat Ori
Awang Selamat Ori
7 Apr 2014 11.13pm

LGE is no different from UMNObaru/BN. When it comes to increasing prices, the stupid reason is always quite the same. Increase prices to control diabetes in the case of the Federal Government when withdrawing subsidies for sugar, and in LGE’s case increase price to control wastage or consumption. Did they conduct a survey on water usage on individual household water bills or on the total volumes used against the total number of households? The poor cannot be wasting water, that is for sure. Those that are wasting water are those rich and famous ( LGE’s friends?). The poor are already… Read more »

8 Apr 2014 10.14am

Daily prayers with 3 morning joss sticks + one black chicken facing Komtar Tower for: 1) A better & cleaner & liveable Penang in terms of standard of living, affordability + safety 2) Better management of state coffer in terms of accountable spending, not personal bing chui 3) Reliable public transport & safe public roads for pedestrians & cyclists 4) A cleaner, greener state upholding & practising stewardship of protected hills, seas + rivers 5) Appearance of Local Plan, still playing hide+seek @ Komtar Tower of frenzied cosmopolitan What we got in ROI (return of illusion) of 24hr deity worshipping:… Read more »

9 Apr 2014 7.31am
Reply to  tunglang

‘Save our rivers’ Excerpt: The Pakatan state government should take immediate remedial pro-active steps to save the three rivers classified as ‘dead rivers’ in Penang, namely Sungai Jelutong, Sungai Juru and Sungai Prai. The three rivers had been ticked off by the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) as five most polluted rivers in Peninsular Malaysia. Sungai Jelutong was also named as among four rivers with lowest water quality in Peninsular. Also another river, Sungai Pinang had been listed as among four rivers in the country with highest amount of rubbish. ‘Cleaner Greener Penang’ campaign launched in 2008 – a “joke.”… Read more »

8 Apr 2014 11.28am

A good one from Awang

Yuk Lo
Yuk Lo
8 Apr 2014 2.53pm

Penang should adopt ‘direct tender’ approach of BN?

Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahya told the Dewan Rakyat today it entered into a contract of more than RM1.6 billion for the building and maintenance of Kuala Lumpur Women and Children’s Hospital through direct tender. The hospital was built for RM848 million by Konsortium Prohawk Sdn Bhd.

7 Apr 2014 9.06pm

How is one life the past 50 years since independence from the British. Is it not better than before. Only dude and jerk people will doubt that

7 Apr 2014 8.35pm

It is time to increase the water rates in penang… i believe the poor and the middle income group will not be affected by the increase. I wont be affected as i dont waste water.

The devil which will hit us hard the middle and lower income grouops is the GST, thks to Barang Naik govt…

If there are no rampant corruptions, no ills, no white elephants everywhere in the land, etc etc etc i believe all of us will lead a better life…

ABU is the only way !!!

Yuk Lo
Yuk Lo
8 Apr 2014 2.16pm
Reply to  kee

True. This is the best way to deter wastage.
Water in Johor still the most expensive, although it could sell cheap to Singapore.

7 Apr 2014 7.35pm

As I have said many times, this CAT gnawed at the poor while salivate at the rich and powerful