Penangites Protest Against Proposed Water Tariff Hike

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KEPALA BATAS, April 13 – A group of Penangites held a protest at the Penaga market here on Sunday against the proposed water tariff hike in the state. Holding placards while giving out flyers, the group known as “Himpunan Anak-Anak Penaga” also chanted slogans against the water hike move. Traffic came to almost a standstill at the narrow road as the protesters occupied the entire street. The group of about 30 people then marched for about 100m before dispersing. ore and more consumers in Penang are objecting to the state government’s proposed water tariff increase, with the latest, a peaceful protest by a group of residents calling themselves Himpunan Anak-Anak Penaga, staged against the plan, here, today. The group’s representative, Mohd Sukor Md Yusof, 42, said the proposed increase was inappropriate and would only increase their financial burden, especially the low-income group’s.

“The people have already been burdened with the water service charge after the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) raised the water conservation surcharge twice, in 2010 and 2013. “Now they (state government) want to increase the water tariff by 100 per cent, expected to be implemented at the end of this year. This is really burdensome, especially for big families,” he told reporters after the protest by about 40 Penaga residents. It was held in Penaga town, with some of the residents carrying placards which stated their objection to the proposed water tariff increase. Recently, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government had allowed PBAPP to do a study on the proposed increase as a last resort to reduce water usage in the state, recorded as the highest in the country.

Lim, who is also PBAPP chairman, said if the water tariff was increased, the rate would still be the lowest at RM0.31 per 1,000 litres for the first 35,000 litres. According to him, the water usage education drive and the water conservation surcharge (WCS) imposed as a penalty on consumers had failed to curb water wastage in the state. Meanwhile, Mohd Sukor said the residents urged that the WCS be abolished as the state government had admitted that the measure failed to meet the objective of educating the public to use water prudently. “So, why should it continue?” he said, adding that by raising the water tariff, the state government would be breaking its promise not to increase the water service charge as stated in its 13th General Election manifesto.

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