The Pakatan Harapan government's plea for the rakyat to accept the proposed increase in water tariffs goes against its pledge that it is concerned about the people's plight, former Selangor menteri besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said today.
Taking to Facebook, Khalid said a good government would put the people's welfare first and not pander to corporate interests.
He was responding to an Utusan Malaysia report, in which Water, Land, and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar asked the people to consider paying higher water rates as part of their responsibility, as well as out of "pity" for the government.
According to the minister, this is because the cost that the government bears for water utilities is too high.
Despite the proposed increase, he added, water tariffs in Malaysia remained one of the lowest in Southeast Asia.
"If the news is true, then it is shameful, especially when the Harapan government is constantly preaching their 'people first' slogan," said Khalid.
Elaborating, he said the country did not need leaders who only talked, but wanted those who were committed to ensuring the people's welfare was looked after.
"An honest government will put the people's interests first, and not just please corporate figures. If politicians choose to act improperly, then why should the rakyat be the ones sacrificing?" he asked.
Jayakumar had said that water tariffs were expected to be increased this year with most state governments having agreed to it.