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NEWS: Right to water argued in Malaysian court

The Malaysian National News Agency reports that, “The Malaysian Trades Union Congress and 13 others do not have the legal right to have access to the audit report and water concession agreement signed between the Federal government, the Selangor state government, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), the Court of Appeal heard here Tuesday.”

In 2004, a 30-year concession was awarded without competitive bidding to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (SYABAS), a subsidiary of Puncak Niaga Holdings. The concession contract was signed by the federal government as well as the state government of Selangor.

“MTUC and 13 others…said that as water consumers in Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, they had the right to gain access to the audit report and the concession agreement signed December 15, 2004. They claimed that the audit report formed the basis for the 15 per cent increase in water tariff in the Klang Valley announced on October 14, 2006.”

“Their counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar had submitted that his clients had the right to gain access to the documents because access to water was a basic human right and that water supply was monopolised by Syabas in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor.”

“Malik said in fact both the Government of Selangor and Syabas did not have any objection to the documents being made public.” It is the federal government that is opposing the release of the documents.

Malaysia voted in favour of the recognition of the right to water and sanitation at the United Nations General Assembly vote on July 28, 2010.

The full article is at http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=562333.