The dirty game of Pakatan politics (23.5.15)

NEEDLESS, that water rationing suffered by Selangor residents caused by some unseasonal hot weather for six months from February last year. Albeit the rationing happened during the term of the previous menteri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and that was what pushed him to the realisation that the imminent threat of water shortage needed to be resolved. He signed a Master Agreement (MA) with the Federal Government on Sept 12 last year undertaking the much-awaited water restructuring exercise. But with the changing of the guards barely two weeks later, the new MB Azmin Ali decided to do a dirty and attempted to cause the MA to be stillborn. Stranger still was when he, a Pakatan Rakyat man, appealed for the prime minister, the Barisan Nasional (BN) leader, to help solve an impasse of his own making. And now, after the latest meeting with the Minister for Energy, Green Technology, and Water Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, he has a change of heart and will, within 60 days, complete the restructuring exercise. Azmin arrived in office and, surprisingly, attempted to unravel the cooperation between the state government and Putrajaya by refusing to extend the MA for an extra month. Without it, the proposed Langat2 Water Treatment Plant, the solution to the water problem, would not be possible. Indeed, without Langat2 more than Selangor’s consumers are put at peril. Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya will also be severely affected when the population growth outstrips supply of treated water. But already the water reserve, which is now well below the 15 per cent required, is precarious as demonstrated by that fateful drought of 2014, which pulled the rug from under the feet of the Selangor Pakatan government. They had insisted that things were under control and alternative sources of supply were available without having to channel water from Pahang to be treated at the Langat2 plant. Divine intervention ended that charade. The endless shenanigans of the Pakatan government were ultimately shown to be nothing but politics, an attempt to resist Putrajaya’s plan to implement what was on the drawing board even before Pakatan took Selangor in the 2008 general election. The water shortage was long forecast. 2016 is the year when there will just not be enough treated water for households and industrial use. The latter had manifested itself when applications to set up operations had to be aborted because water security could not be guaranteed. For Selangor, the country’s jewel in the crown, this was nothing short of a disaster. Nevertheless, the Pakatan government first led by the industrialist Khalid had little inhibition about politicising the problem. That the MB was without doubt familiar with what makes the state’s economy tick over nicely showed the extent of how dirty a game politics had become in the hands of Pakatan. The water debacle is but the tip of the iceberg. The infighting in PKR causing the downfall of Khalid testified to the party’s naked hunger for power. As such, in the current situation, one cannot be too sure that the word of the incumbent menteri besar is his bond.

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