Penang Gerakan wants Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to explain to Penangites whether the need to increase water tariff in Penang is due to over-expenditure because of “surplus of directors.”
Penang Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong said Lim, who is also chairman of Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) should inform the people whether payment of allowances to the directors in the PBA board warranted an increase in water tariff, which would only burden the people.
“Is PBA being poorly managed that it is now facing financial challenge?” Oh questioned in a media statement, adding that at this time of economic downturn, Lim, as an accountant, should ensure that PBA is prudent, cuts cost and only spends when necessary.
Oh said it is wrong to use the rakyat’s money to solve PBA’s financial problem.
He said it was Gerakan’s hope that Lim would not take advantage of the current dry spell and used water rationing as an excuse to increase PBA’s income, and to propagate the PR state government’s political agenda.
Oh reiterated that Lim had broken his promises in his 2014 New Year message that Penang would not increase quit rent, water tariff, assessment or business licence for this year and next year.
Oh said the rakyat have the right to know PBA’s problems and why it is inevitable to have tariff hike at this time.
He said water tariff in Penang would be revising for the third time since Lim took over the Penang State Government six years ago. “Water tariff was only revised once during Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon’s 18 years’ tenure as Chief Minister. This is very clear that who is truly caring for the rakyat,” Oh added.
Oh noted that an increase in water tariff hike would definitely affect the livelihood of the people, especially hawkers.
“Before the General Elections, Lim had said he would listen to the rakyat. When the election is over, it is the rakyat who have to listen to him,” Oh lamented.
“This proved that Lim is practising double standards. His promises have no warranty period!” Oh said.
Penang has 1.61mil population. “If everyone pays only another RM1, PBA income will increase significantly. This is not for rakyat to save water usage but to help increase PBA’s income,” Oh added.
Oh urged the state government to work on public education on water usage, not tariff hike.
If water tariff is increased, it would be the third water tariff hike since the DAP-helmed Pakatan Rakyat state government wrested power in the general elections in 2008.
In 2010, Lim’s government introduced a 24 sen per 1,000 litres of water conservation surcharge (WCS) for consumers using water in excess of 35,000 litres per month.
Last year, after the General Elections, the WCS rate was increased by 100% to 48 sen per 1,000 litres.
Oh said WCS is indirectly a form of water tariff hike for Penang.
In announcing the state plan on Thursday, Lim said the imminent water tariff hike was inevitable as a soft approach to reduce usage had failed.
Lim said the last revision on the Penang water tariff was done 23 years ago.