Clean water is the basic test of how good or bad the government of the day is

WATER may be a basic need but failure to provide clean water supply to its citizens shows whether a government has its priorities right.

No matter how advanced a nation may boast itself, if the water supply to the people is anything but clean and drinkable, it shows the government of the day has failed to provide this most basic need.

Mention about Petronas Twin Towers and Menara 118, the question is why does a city like Kuala Lumpur has to have these two so-called tallest building in the world?

Is it to boost the ego of Malaysians or just the two former premiers in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak who built them using public funds?

One was obsessed with mega projects involving billions of taxpayers’ money; the other is now in prison for his involvement in the 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd) scandal which has sent shockwaves around the world of what a kleptocrat government is capable of doing.

FocusM recently reported that despite Najib being Pekan MP since 1976, the Orang Asli homes in Pekan have no clean tap water supplied to their homes.

Mega projects, but dirty water

Compared to under-developed nations, tap water supplied to homes in First World nations around the world is drinkable.

Their citizens hardly think of having to install water filters in their homes. In Melbourne, for example, people drink water directly from the taps without having to boil the water.

But, in Malaysia, filter is not enough, one has to also boil the water. Since becoming independent for 66 years, Malaysia is still plagued with tap water that is undrinkable.

The lack of access to clean water is what people can use to measure how good a government is. At the very least, this is what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX) has done right after taking over Putrajaya.

Providing the funds and ensuring that the fund is fully utilised to provide clean water in the states of Kedah, Kelantan and Sabah will reflect well on the PMX’s administration and how the money is utilised for many years to come. This will set the precedent for future leaders.

PMX’s willingness to extend his Madani government’s act of kindness by providing allocations to even the Opposition states will win him the hearts of the ordinary party members and fence sitters in both Kedah and Kelantan.

However, the quality of water supply in Selangor which has come under Pakatan Harapan (PH) rule for the past 15 years is not what can be expected of a state deemed to be one of the richest in Malaysia if not the most advanced.

After installing a simple water filter used for the washing machine in less than a week, this is the way the filter looks. This is after only about six rounds of washes.

Source and deliver system

Clean water supply involves the source of water, the efficiency of the treatment plant as well as the delivery system that bring the clean water right into our tap. Throughout the state, the underground pipes need to be changed as most of the 6,000km pipes which were laid in the 1980s were made of asbestos and cement.

Since 2016, Air Selangor has expended nearly RM900 mil to replace these old water pipes throughout the state yet the quality of water is still far from satisfactory.

With the current annual allocation allowing replacement of these pipes at the rate of 150km a year, it could take at least another 25 to 30 years before the total of 6,000 km pipes are changed. For a so-called wealthy state, this is unacceptable.

If it takes that length of time for Selangorians to enjoy clean water, one can only wonder how much longer people in the poorer states like Kelantan will get to enjoy clean and satisfactory water quality.

It is time the Selangor Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari to go back to his drawing board to review his priorities. The people must come first with improvement to their standard of living, and no more working on white elephant projects which do not yield good returns but will eventually turn into another loss-making venture. – Aug 31, 2023

Main pic credit: Bernama

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