No compensation for Selangor water disruption

Air Selangor says there is no plan for any compensation because the stop-work order is due to an environmental crime

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by TMR FILE

PENGURUSAN Air Selangor Sdn Bhd is not obliged to compensate consumers who are affected by the series of water disruptions in the state as all the actions that the company has taken are in accordance with all the provisions.

Air Selangor CEO Suhaimi Kamaralzaman said the utility provider is legally-bound to stop operations at the water treatment plants (LRA) the moment pollution is detected at the raw water intake level to safeguard the consumers’ wellbeing.

“There is no plan for any compensation because the stop-work order is due to an environmental crime. So, we are not considering this (compensation),” he told the reporters after visiting affected account holders in Shah Alam yesterday.

Suhaimi was responding to the question if Air Selangor would consider offering subsidies or rebates to users due to the disruptions.

On Monday, Air Selangor announced that the LRA at Sungai Selangor Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3 and Rantau Panjang Water had been shut down following a raw water pollution detected in Sungai Selangor.

The shutdown has affected 1.2 million account holders in 1,292 areas, including Kuala Lumpur (KL), after households in Selangor endured a water cut caused by a burst pipe on Oct 17.

Consumers were still reeling from an earlier disruption in September caused by river contamination at Sungai Gong, which feeds Sungai Selangor.

Yesterday, The Malaysian Reserve reported that consumers and associations demanded that affected parties should be given an avenue to channel their complaints and claims due to the losses made during unscheduled water disruption.

However, Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) president S Piarapakaran said there is no provision under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 that will allow such a claim to be made.

AWER proposed an amendment on Environment Quality Act 1974 which will give consumers, as well as Air Selangor a locus standi to claim from culprit that caused the pollution.

Suhaimi said this year so far, all of the LRA in Sungai Selangor had to stop operations six times due to pollution at the water source.

It was previously reported that industrial activities are among the major causes of the pollution, with effluents discharged to the drainage system before entering Sungai Selangor, which supplies 60% of water to the total Klang Valley residents.

There were also allegations that there were too many illegal factories in the state that are not registered with the Department of Environment (DoE), which caused a more difficult enforcement.

In the case of Sungai Gong, five men, including four brothers, were charged for intentionally committing mischief by causing hazardous waste from the factory to flow into the river on Sept 3.

The brothers are directors of Yip Chee Seng and Sons Sdn Bhd which owns a factory where the pollution allegedly originated.

Suhaimi said the DoE, Selangor Water Management Authority and the police are still investigating the cause of pollution for the recent case.

Environment and Water Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said its preliminary checks have found that the affluent may have come from three to four industrial areas which are located not far from the river system.

Meanwhile, Suhaimi said water will be fully restored to the affected area by 8am tomorrow, one day earlier than Air Selangor’s previous forecast.

As at 6pm yesterday, water supply had been restored to 65% of the total affected areas.