KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 – An officers-level meeting will be held on Monday to discuss solutions to the stalled Selangor water restructuring deal between the state government and Putrajaya, Mohamed Azmin Ali said today. The Selangor menteri besar said that after receiving a letter from the Energy, Water and Green Technology Ministry, the state government was willing to return to the discussion table with Putrajaya in hopes of bringing an end to the impasse.
“I have received a letter and it is nothing like what is being portrayed in the media. The ministry was very respectful and even thanked the state government for the cooperation in the water agreement,” he told reporters at a function in Batu Caves, Selangor. The Gombak MP said it was also important to note that the ministry had expressed its willingness to return to the original terms of the agreement.
On March 9, Selangor revoked the controversial water agreement with Putrajaya inked by Azmin’s predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim in September last year. Azmin said the federal government had failed to comply with conditions set by the state government, an accusation that the ministry denied. He said since the federal government was willing to return to the terms of the master agreement, the state government also assured resolution on the matter.
“Because of that, the state government is willing to hold a discussion and we assure finalisation of the restructuring exercise based on the previous conditions,” he said. Azmin previously said that the federal government had insisted that land be included with the upgraded water assets of the concession companies to be transferred as settlement of the concession companies’ RM7.65 billion borrowings.
He said the inclusion of the land was not part of the terms of the master agreement. Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili however reportedly said Azmin had been ill advised and that it was clearly stated in the agreement that the assets would go together with the land. He said the request for the land was to lease it for 45 years, while his deputy Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the land was also meant to be collateral for the RM2 billion that Putrajaya would give the state to help it take over four water concessionaires as part of the restructuring exercise.