The Penang government should realise that its proposed water surcharge hike would only burden consumers, not reduce wastage, cautioned state Umno chief Zainal Abidin Osman in a statement.
He said the state government’s argument that introducing surcharge hike as a penalty on wastage would reduce water consumption does not hold water.
Indeed, he said it had only managed to increase the revenue of the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP).
He pointed out that the surcharge did not lead to water conservation when it was imposed in 2010 and increased in 2013.
“The government should be more empathetic towards the people’s cost of living and not tax them further,” he said.
Zainal said from 1993 to 2008, the previous Barisan Nasional state government neither increased the price of water nor imposed surcharges and yet could provide good quality water.
He noted that the DAP-led state government had increased domestic water tariff by 16.7% in 2015, although it had repeatedly promised not to do so.
The water conservation surcharge was 24 sen when first imposed in 2010 and it was raised to 48 sen in 2013.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng announced on Sunday that the state was applying to the National Water Services Commission for approval to increase it to RM1, on every thousand litres used after 35,000 litres for domestic users.
Guan Eng also said large households were taken care of because those with eight or more family members were given a 60% discount on the surcharge.
“There are only a small number of such households, less than 1,000, enjoying the 60% surcharge discount now,” he said.