Published: Fri, 24 Feb 2012
AMPANG JAYA: Apartment residents, whose water supply is disconnected due to their errant developer, have hit out at Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) for being inhumane.
"Your action is heartless. You want to wait for the cheques to clear first (before reconnecting the water supply)?" asked Mohd Azam Meor, from Pandan Utama Housing Project (Phase II), at a meeting with Syabas on Monday night.
Some 70 families have had dry taps since Feb 14 after supply was disconnected when it was discovered that the developer of the two-year-old apartment had been stealing from a water main.
The water was piped into an illegal water tank before being supplied to residents at the five-storey walk-up apartment in Jalan Cempaka 1, Pandan Utama.
Mohd Azam, 55, was among residents who pleaded for water to be reconnected immediately to ease the plight of children, pregnant women and senior citizens who have to carry pails of water up flights of stairs.
But Syabas corporate communications and public affairs manager Mohd Sufian Sahran, who met residents, defended the company's actions, saying the utility company had to prevent water theft from reoccurring.
"You must understand that we have to stop the illegal connection of water," he told residents during a tense 90-minute meeting which saw consumers venting their frustrations on him and his team.
Mohd Sufian said the developer would have to satisfy a raft of requirements set by Syabas and the National Water Services Commission (Span) before reconnection could take place.
The company must first install a bulk meter at the apartment before Syabas will turn the water on again from the illegal connection.
"We want to know how much water is being consumed," Mohd Sufian told the crowd.
However, his explanation failed to quell the anger of residents who wanted water supply restored immediately.
"Reconnect the water. Tonight, if possible," said resident Mohd Rahman Junid, 66.
Another resident, Iskandar Abu Hatan, 44, laid the blame squarely on Syabas for putting financial matters above ratepayers' concerns.
He said the water concessionaire should reconnect the water supply without delay if it had the residents' welfare in mind.
Syabas, he said, could install the bulk water meter and start charging the residents for their usage immediately.
"We will pay whatever amount that comes up. We need the water for flushing toilets, for bathing and doing our laundry," the office administrator said.
Apart from the requirement that the developer install the bulk meter, Syabas also wants the company to settle RM185,000 for stealing water.
The company had issued a post-dated cheque on Feb 15 during a meeting with Syabas representatives for RM40,000 and hammered out a deal to pay the rest in four instalments.
However, yesterday (Thursday), Syabas slapped the developer with an additional demand of a bank guarantee for RM1.9 million before water is reconnected.
The amount is to ensure that the company completes the stalled water supply infrastructure, which includes building a new water tank, water pump and also laying a main pipe to a nearby reservoir.
The concessionaire wants the developer to agree in writing that the infrastructure be completed within a year.
When contacted by Selangor Times, Mohd Sufian said water supply could be restored by 1pm tomorrow (Feb 25) provided a bulk meter is installed today (Friday).
Meanwhile Cempaka state lawmaker Iskandar Samad, who has been involved in talks to get water supply restored, said Syabas was only complicating matters by imposing new conditions on the developer.
"I'm shocked that Syabas is asking for a bank guarantee of RM1.9 million. Syabas is complicating matters. What are they trying to do?" asked the state housing executive councillor.
Iskandar earlier pointed out that the state would blacklist the company if it failed to act immediately.
At the same time, he said Syabas should not delay reconnecting the supply on humanitarian grounds.
"Presently, residents have to carry pails of water up five floors, and there's a possibility accidents can happen if the situation persists any longer," he said.