New SPAN chairman to probe SSP3 pipe burst

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) is expected to determine whether there is any breach of terms involving a water supply disruption at Sungai Selangor Phase 3 (SSP3) Bukit Badong treatment plants.

Newly appointed SPAN chairman Charles Santiago (picture) said he will “definitely look into the matter” following his appointment to head the commission last week.

“The appointment was made three hours ago. I will definitely look into it,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in a recent phone interview.

Santiago is expected to meet SPAN members to discuss this matter soon, but he did not disclose the exact date the meeting will take place.

The Klang MP also said he is resolute in finding out whether SSP3 concessionaire — Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash) — is responsible for the pipe-burst incident, which left over six million residents in the Klang Valley with a dry tap in March.

The meeting would deliberate whether the affected residents would be compensated due to the incident.

Last March, maintenance works at SSP3 water treatment plant had caused water disruptions in 427 areas in the Klang Valley for a few weeks.

Splash, the concessionaire appointed by the Selangor government to develop the SSP3 on a build, operate and transfer basis, sells the treated water to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), which distributes it to consumers.

The Selangor government had inked a RM2.55 billion deal to buy out Splash as part of the state’s water consolidation via its subsidiary Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor), which had already acquired Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd, Konsortium Abaas Sdn Bhd and Syabas at RM6.59 billion before 2017.

In July, TMR reported that the SSP3 investigation report is almost ready to be presented to SPAN members for feedback before it can be shown to the minister in charge.

However, the investigation paper could not reach the next phase as former SPAN chairman Datuk Liang Teck Meng, who is also BN Simpang Renggam MP, vacated the post after the 14th General Election.

Upon the final presentation and approval, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar would be able to make the report public.

Santiago will be the chairman of SPAN until Oct 31, 2020. SPAN is the technical and economic regulatory body for the water supply and sewerage services in Peninsular Malaysia, Putrajaya and Labuan.

It regulates all entities in the water supply and sewerage services industry, including public and private water supply and sewerage services operators, water supply and sewerage contractors, permit holders and suppliers of water and sewerage products.

SPAN regulates the water services industry in accordance with the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655), which was enforced on Jan 1, 2008.