Monday, March 31, 2008

Free Water from 1st of June?

Free water from June 1

The above article in today’s edition of the The STAR brings great news to Selangor consumers.

However, the second paragraph of the report:

Those whose supply is linked to bulk meters – including flat, apartment and condominium dwellers – will not enjoy the free water just yet

is of great concern.

It must be noted that currently, dwellers of flats, apartments and condominiums are already paying a much higher rate for their water supply as compared to the dwellers of landed property. Come June, there will be even greater differences between the dwellers of these stratified properties compared to landed.

The decision, he said, was to lessen the burden of the people, especially those in the lower income group. (quoting the MB)

The second point to note is that most of the lower income group in our communities live in high rise – flats and apartments. These are the group that should rightly benefit – but unfortunately, it will not be so for a while yet. There are over 500 such properties in Selangor alone with more coming up. Multiply each stratified property by 300 units with each unit having on average 4 people living there: we are talking about many, many rakyat who will miss out on this great gesture of the government.

However, this problem can easily be solved. This is an issue that the newly elected state government probably have overlooked or are still studying. Currently the stratified property dwellers are paying a much higher rate for their water consumption compared to landed property dwellers. (ie RM1.38 per cubic meter compared to 57sen). The previous government, under pressure from the consumers had decided that the stratified property dwellers should also pay 57 sen. However, it would mean that the current bulk meters would have to be converted to individual meters.

The catch was, the management of the stratified property had to apply to SYABAS for this conversion. And before the conversion can take place, all 100% of the owners of the stratified property had to agree to the conversion to individual meters.

Many management companies (which in most cases are the developers themselves) would not want to convert as some are charging the residents extra for the water consumption. And even in cases where the management has applied to SYABAS, it is almost impossible to get 100% of the residents to agree. Many owners of these units in stratified properties are investors who are not really bothered about these “minor” issues. Thus, the previous governments good intentions have infact been frustrated by bureaucracy – or perhaps this was their intent in the first place anyway.

I would therefore appeal to the current state government, to solve this problem. It should be legislated for the conversion of bulk meters to individual meters be mandatory upon SYABAS. Thus, SYABAS will have to convert all the bulk meters to individual meters for the existing properties and for the new properties it would be individual meters right from the start.

With the conversion being made mandatory than ALL THE RAKYAT would benefit equally irrespective of the kind of dwelling.

In the meantime, whilst this issue is being handled, I commend the MB and the state government for this bold move of giving free 20 cubic meters of water. I urge all consumers to appreciate this gesture and value it by not wasting water but using it properly and with respect.

This free water will be applied only to Selangor? Does it cover Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya? A response from SYABAS would be greatly appreciated.

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