Show more transparency in water issue

As a former chairman of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s Panel on the Prevention of Corruption, I am deeply concerned that the MACC is losing public confidence and credibility because of its apparent decline in transparency and accountability, in reference to the report “NGOs want MACC to reveal status of Splash deal probe” (The Star, Dec 29).

The strong stand taken by the three well-known NGOs – Suara Malaysia, Batas Malaysia and Gapenas Selangor – represents significant public concerns. The NGOs should be saluted for their courage and commitment to serve public and national interests.

Water is a precious basic need. Thus as citizens and voters we have the right to be informed of the status of the investigations regarding the takeover arrangements between the Selangor go­­vernment and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor (Splash).

But the spokesman Zamil Ibrahim for the three NGOs and millions of other consumers presented a report to the Selangor MACC 43 days ago but has yet to receive any feedback. Is this not inefficient and irresponsible on the part of the MACC?

All that the NGOs have asked is to be kept informed of the general progress in the negotiations. For instance, they want to know how long more it will take to settle these long-drawn-out talks? What are these issues?

Water sustains our very lives and is too precious to be left exclusively to the politicking and fancies of politicians and corporate tycoons.

May I respectfully propose that the Federal Government and if possible, the Sultan of Selangor, help to solve the water crisis? This is necessary if the MACC, Splash and the state government find it beyond their capabilities to come up with proper and fair solutions before any further damaging delays?

The MACC and all related authorities owe it to the rakyat to break this long-sensitive stalemate. It can do so by being much more transparent and accountable to the rakyat.

In the process, the MACC could also contribute towards raising the low Corruption Perception Index that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low is committed to do.

Let us make a New Year’s resolution for 2017 to solve at least this one vital issue pertaining to water – one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Goals – as soon as possible.

Article published in The Star.

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