BATU MAUNG: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today dismissed claims by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the water tariff in the state had increased four times in the past 10 years.
Chow said the water tariff in Penang was increased only once, affecting the domestic users under Pakatan Harapan (formerly Pakatan Rakyat) rule over the past 10 years.
“I would like to thank him (Najib) for noticing our announcement yesterday, but actually it only happened once for domestic use,” he told reporters after launching the FedEx Penang Gateway facility in the MAB New Cargo Complex at Penang International Airport here today.
However, Chow said he could not recall the exact year and the amount increase of the tariff.
It was reported today that Najib was against the Penang government’s intention to increase the water tariff as he claimed that the tariff had been increased four times since DAP took over the state administration in 2008.
Chow further explained that the review on water tariff was not on the rate, but only on the mechanism and that the discussion on the new streamlined tariff mechanism was done during the previous federal government’s administration, but it could not reach a consensus from all states.
He said, right now, the new federal government was keen on standardising the mechanism of the tariff and the state would only fix the rate once it was approved by the National Water Service Commission (SPAN).
“We are looking at a higher rate, and with higher rates, we can incorporate the surcharge. Under our proposal to SPAN, the water conservation surcharge, imposed to reduce water wastage, will be removed,” he said.
Yesterday, Chow, who is also the state assemblyman for Padang Kota, announced that the state’s water tariff is expected to increase by up to 20 percent this year in line with the restructuring of the water supply services industry nationwide. — Bernama