Pahang wants compensation for use of water catchments

The Pahang government plans to seek compensation from the federal government for the forest reserves and wildlife reserves in the state used as water catchments for the benefit of people outside Pahang.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (picture) said the land involved covered one million ha and this forced the state government to bear high opportunity cost.

“In the case of the Kelau Dam which was ‘sacrificed’ for supplying water under the Pahang-Selangor raw water transfer project, the state government had to forgo logging revenue, minerals, oil palm land premium and land tax for areas measuring 33,000ha.

“I wish to stress that for forest reserves used as water catchment areas, the opportunity cost we have to bear is RM16.4 billion, while for the Kelau Dam area, the opportunity cost is RM692 million.

“So, the total opportunity cost borne is RM17.1 billion; in connection with this we will meet with the federal government to ask for this amount to be deducted from the state government’s debt of RM3.17 billion,” he told the State Legislative Assembly in Kuantan yesterday.

Wan Rosdy also told the House that the state government sent an application to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Oct 25, 2018, to write off loans for rural water supply projects to the tune of 60% of the outstanding loans.

He said the portion of loans not written off would be taken over by Perbadanan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB).

“In return, the state government will transfer immovable assets with the same value as the loans assumed by PAAB for a period of 45 years,” he said.

Wan Rosdy said the state government’s water supply debts would be restructured through a restructuring of the water supply services industry in Pahang, based on negotiations and terms offered by the federal government. However, the state government has yet to receive an offer from the federal government. — Bernama