The on-going politically spiked battles relating to the water situation in Selangor brings to the fore issues that demand focus, debate and resolution with integrity, honor and humility as well as full accountability.
To begin with, how do we comprehend that a nation in the tropical - equatorial belt with so much of rainfall all year round could be caught with ‘water rationing' threats?
Next, senior citizens will recall with crystal clear clarity that in the 1960s and early 1970s, every school boy and girl could enjoy drinking water direct from tap to mouth. There was no issue of murky nor stinky flows. Tap water was classified "safe for drinking".
But today, after half-a-century of independent rule, our government has failed to keep that 1960s track record untainted. Today, with just eight years to go to trumpeting ‘Developed Status', our taps are not fit for the ‘tap to mouth' qualification any more.
Not only is the water often found to be murky, sedimentation is at an all time high. Just take a look at the expensive filters that are the standard feature for all houses - they turn into dark-stained brown in no time.
And what makes it all even more suspicious is the fact that drinking water has to be bought these days even though you have running taps in your homes. If citizens have that option to consume ‘mineral' water - captured from mountain springs, that is fine.
But when you have running water piped to every home across the length and breadth of the country, and you still have to buy bottled ‘drinking water' that is taken from the government-anointed water provider, is filtered and bottled by other private operators to be sold to the citizens, then we have to ask some very serious and probing questions.
Today many households are complaining that they cannot even wash white linen and clothes without having to increase their ‘extra-strength' whitening soaps and detergents. Even the water storage tanks in every home are permanently layered with sediment.
The tap water you use to brush your teeth stinks of metal and mud all year round, let alone the fact that it is slightly brownish.
Many homes have installed filters. But at the rate they have to keep changing the filters - which do not come cheap either, many have just learnt to use the filters until it slows down the water pressure into their taps.
Now, that is even more dangerous than living without the filters.
We certainly have some very serious questions to ask the government. And the authorities beyond doubt, have some serious soul searching to do.
Integrity and accountability and professional political ethics demands that we find answers to why a nation that was racing well ahead of its neighbors in the 1960's with ‘piped water for all' and ‘clean drinking water' from the taps, has driven its citizens to purchase bottled, ‘drinking water'.
What happened to all the ‘world-class' capability and track record of the ‘Jabatan Bekalan Air' of bygone eras?