The Johor state assembly today debated the possibility that the state's current water supplier SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd will also provide water to the Forest City development in Gelang Patah, Johor.
Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid Tengku Hamid Jumat (BN-Kempas) said such a move would be against the state’s government’s decision that the developer source its own water supply for the project.
"I understand that the state government has conveyed this decision to the developer. Forest City has to draw water from a desalination process or through other mechanisms deemed fit.
“This will allow the state government to accord priority to domestic households,” he said, adding that rumours were rife that Forest City would obtain water supply from SAJ Ranhill.
“If there is truth to the rumour, then this just goes to show the developer’s irresponsible attitude and total disregard for the state’s government’s clear directive to source its own water supply,” he said in the Johor state assembly here today.
He also said Johoreans should not suffer at the expense of the developer’s profit-oriented motive which could spark a water crisis in the state.
Tengku Putra Haron said that the Forest City project, when completed, required more than 600 million cubic meters of water daily, which was almost equal to Johor Bahru and Pasir Gudang’s daily water supply.
Based on the high demand, he was concerned that SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd may compromise on the existing supply.
"I am worried that this can create a very serious water crisis if the issue is not delved into deeply,” he added.
Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid also urged the state government to take control of SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd via a mandatory takeover for fear that it may fall into the hands of a foreign party.
He suggested that the state government, which had cash reserves close to RM4 billion, to acquire SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd from its majority shareholder, Ranhill Holdings Bhd.
"It’s possible that the major shareholder may sell SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd to a foreign party. If that happens, we will lose control of not only our water industry but our national sovereign asset,” he pointed out.
Tengku Putra suggested that the state government make a bid for the water supply company and if it is rejected, it should then make a mandatory takeover of SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd under the Water Services Industry Act 2006.