February 24, 2005 17:28 PM
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- The Coalition Against Water Privatisation
(CAWP) has asked the government to put on hold all agreements relating to
the privatisation of water services in Malaysia to allow for further public
debate on the issue.
Joint-head of the coalition N. Marimuthu said Thursday the federal
government was expected to present two bills at next month's parliamentary
sitting, namely the Water Industry Bill and the National Water Services
If adopted, the bills would effectively set the stage for full-fledged
privatisation of water supply in the country, said Marimuthu. who is also
Federation of Malaysian Consumers' Associations (Fomca) president.
"We believe that the provisioning of water should be the responsibility of
the state and it is the obligation of the state to ensure that water supply
is made available based on needs and rights, not affordability," he told
reporters after handing over a memorandum from 26 non-governmental
organisations on the privatisation of water services to the Human Rights
Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), here.
Present were Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Syed Shahir
Syed Mohamad, Group of Concerned Citizens coordinator Charles Santiago and
Suhakam Commissioner Datuk N.Siva Subramaniam.
The memorandum urges Suhakam to advise the government, specifically the
Energy, Water and Communications Ministry, on the notion of human rights to
water and state obligations before the water bill is brought to parliament.
Marimuthu said that with privatisation, the management of water supply would organised to make profits and enhance the stock value of the company and shareholders which would lead to vulnerable groups being victimised.
Privatisation of public entities in Malaysia has more often resulted in failure and has adversely affected consumers welfare, he said.
On Jan 18, the Dewan Rakyat amended the federal constitution to transfer thejurisdiction of water supply management from the respective states to the federal government.-- BERNAMA
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