Water tariffs to be raised next year

KUALA LUMPUR: All states are expected to raise water tariffs next year to ensure consumers enjoy higher quality water, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Deputy Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji (pix) pointed out that the current average tariff of RM1.38 per 1,000 litres was considerably lower than the actual cost of RM2.31 per 1,000 litres of water.

He said this had weakened water supply service providers’ financial capability and risked affecting the quality of water services to end users.

Tengku Zulpuri noted that the actual cost to service providers increased annually and if there was no corresponding rise in the tariffs, it would be difficult to offer better services.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Mansor Othman (PH-Nibong Tebal) who wanted to know how the government would ensure that the higher tariffs would not burden the rakyat when implemented next year.

The deputy minister gave an assurance that the increase would not be drastic, possibly between 6 sen and 71 sen per 1,000 litres, taking into account the financial capability of the lower income households.

He said that to address the burden of this target group, the government would enforce a minimum increment for households that consume under 20 cu m per month, which represents 47.8% of domestic consumers in Malaysia.

“This increase is still considerably lower when compared with other utility tariffs such as electricity, gas and telecommunications,” he said.

Tengku Zulpuri added that the ministry had consulted with various stakeholders, including water services providers, state governments and consumer associations, before deciding on the new rates for the respective states, to ensure a win-win situation for all quarters.

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