Tear gas, water cannons fired on water protesters (Malay Mail)
Sunday, December 5, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR: The protest march by supporters of the 'Air Untuk Rakyat' movement took a chaotic turn when Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel fired several tear gas canisters in the supporters direction this afternoon.
The demonstrators, reportedly numbering about 2,500 to 3,000, had gathered at the National Mosque since 9am, and had started their march to the Istana Negara about 1.30pm with the intent of handing over their memorandum on Selangor water issues to the palace.
The massive crowd were approaching the city's railway station when they ran into the FRU, which had formed a defensive perimeter.
After repeated warnings by the FRU to disperse were ignored, police fired several rounds of tear gas and turned on the water cannons. Most of the protesters ran for cover.
Apart from those suffering from eye and throat irritation, no serious injuries were reported. At Press time, the demonstrators have retreated to the National Mosque.
According to online news portals, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and several state exco members succeeded in proceeding to the Istana Negara and handed over the memorandum containing 250,000 signatures to palace officials.
It was also reported that Kota Damansara assemblyman Dr Nasir Hashim was earlier detained by police at KL Sentral before the rally. Also detained were Parti Sosialis Malaysia members A. Sivarajan, who is a Shah Alam councillor; and PSM secretary general S. Aruchelvam.
The trio were subsequently released and sent via police car to the National Mosque.
Police dissapointed with Khalid
KUALA LUMPUR: City police expressed their disappointment with Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim for failing to urged his Pakatan-led "Air Untuk Rakyat" campaign supporters to disperse despite having been advised by police to do so.
Its police chief Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah said police have called Abdul Khalid at 10.20am to inform him that the march to Istana Negara is illegal.
"We gave him another alternative by offering our help for him to hand the memorandum to the palace. He agreed to this and guarantee us that there will be no commotion after the memorandum has been handed over," said Zulkifli during the press conference at Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters.
At 11am, about 4,200 supporters gathered at the compound of the National Mosque waiting for Abdul Khalid and several other Selangor state excos to arrive. Abdul Khalid who arrived at the mosque at 1.45pm, urged the demonstrators to disperse after his departure to Istana Negara and thanked the police for giving him a chance to submit the memorandum.
"At 2.05pm, police escorted Abdul Khalid and 10 Selangor state excos in four vehicles to Istana Negara to hand over the memorandum. The memorandum was finally submitted to a palace representative," said Zulkifli.
However, after Khalid and his entourages departed National Mosque, the crowd went wild and refused to leave. They still wanted to march to Istana Negara and police had to remain at the area. Some of the demonstrators also threw stones at some of the policemen.
"After about one hour stand-off, police ordered them to disperse again but they still ognored the call. Following this, we had to fire several tear gases and sprayed them with water cannons.
Zulkifli said until 4pm, police have detained 48 demonstrators and they are now at the General Operation Force (PGA) police lock-up in Cheras.
They will have their statements recorded before being released later.
It is learned that Kota Damansara state assemblyman Dr Nasir Hashim, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members - Shah Alam councillor A. Sivarajan and party secretary-general S. Arulchelvam were also detained.
However, they were released after their statements were recorded.
All the detainees will be investigated under Section 27 of the Police Act 1967.
"I am really disappointed. Abdul Khalid had failed to cooperate with us and control his supporters," said Zulkifli.
Earlier, at 11 am, there was a peace demonstration led by 150 people of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) calling themselves as The Selangor Anti-Irregularities Federation (Gaps) at the Merdeka Stadium compound. Police advised the group to send their representative to hand over the memorandum instead.
The representative of the group agreed and arrived at the Istana Negara at 12.40pm in a two-vehicles convoy.
The Selangor Anti-Irregularities Federation (Gaps) president Hamidzun Khairuddin said he was hoping to march to Istana Negara to hand over the memorandum.
"The police, however, only allowed two cars through the security cordon. Nonetheless, our objective was fulfilled," said Hamidzun.
The fellow Selangor Sultan has put up his view on water-restructuring exercise done by Federal Government and Selangor state government. On my view, the Minister Datuk Peter Chin shuld stop twisting the facts and fooling around by telling Pakatan Rakyat does not care about welfare of rakyat.
If you noticed whenever the question arises, the Minister will point fingers to Khalid Ibrahim's administration and accusing them. One raw water transfer project question being asked in Parliament, and the so called 'brilliant' Minister put a big round of story (without clearly answering Kuala Krau MP question and not related at all) and in end Selangor state government is the victim of politicking.
The valuation of water assets has been a dispute since the starting point of round table talk, how can the Minister accuse that Pakatan is politicizing the issue.
Selangor has previously made two offers to the concessionaires, one valued at RM5.7 billion that was rejected by all players, and another at RM9.4 billion that was rejected by Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB).
The federal government too has made an offer of RM10.3 billion which was rejected by Syabas.
Lets join Khalid's faction and Pakatan Rakyat stand on NO to bail out the 'ill' Syabas with RM1 bil soft loan. Fellow consumers in Klang Valley should be very clear on Syabas intention.
Khalid’s Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration is fighting for the rights over the water industry and promised to provide the first 20 cubic metres water for free. It also pledged to maintain a fixed 12 per cent increase in water tariffs, compared to Syabas’s plans of a 37% tariff increase followed by 25 per cent increase in 2012 and a 20 per cent increase in 2015.
Sultan: Impasse may cause Selangor taps to run dry (The Star)
By Wong Chun Wai and Loong Meng Yee
Sunday December 5, 2010
PETALING JAYA: The Sultan of Selangor has warned of an imminent water crisis if the stand-off between the Federal and Selangor governments over an inter-state raw water transfer project is not resolved fast.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah voiced his disappointment that the issue had been politicised, adding that he did not want the people of Selangor to be the biggest losers should the taps run dry.
The Tuanku also warned of serious economic consequences if frustrated investors close their plants and pull out from the country if their factories are hit with constant water cuts or rationing exercises.
“The issue is long overdue. Get the deadlock resolved,” said the Sultan in an interview with The Star in conjunction with his 65th birthday next week.
Aides of the Sultan said he had been concerned about the water security issue for the past few years.
The sources said Sultan Sharafuddin had been writing letters to both federal and state leaders, urging for a solution to the water woes in the state.
“Unfortunately, there has been no reply. To say the Sultan does not care about the issue is untrue. It is not his style to hold press conferences to announce what he has done. Tuanku would rather work behind the scenes,” said the sources.
Sultan Sharafuddin called on the parties involved to put the interest of the state and its people first.
“I fear, if politics gets in the way, Selangor will have to pay a heavy price for the folly in future,” said the Tuanku.
The National Water Resources Study Report 2000-2050 projected that Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya would face water shortage by the end of 2014. The report is published by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).
The impasse is over the proposed Pahang-Selangor raw water transfer project.
On Pahang’s side, the state started construction work for the water transfer project in April. Once completed in 2014, 1,890 million litres of raw water will be pumped daily from Sungai Semantan to the Hulu Langat water treatment facility in Selangor.
Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said in July that the Federal Government asked Selangor to give its consent to construct the RM8.65bil Langat 2 water treatment plant.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, in a statement in September, said the state had never objected to the Langat 2 project but saw no need for haste since the state projected there was enough water to meet demand until 2019.
The state administration wanted to give priority to resolving the issue on restructuring the water services industry in Selangor.
Negotiations have been deadlocked since last year.
Chin disagreed with Khalid’s insistence to link the Langat 2 project with the complex water restructuring exercise, which involves federal and state governments, as well as concessionaries.