Opposition not supportive of Johor’s second water operator plan

There are plans to set up a second water operator company in Johor to rely less on existing company SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd, but the Opposition believes the plan is not viable.

Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sap­ian said if the plan were to be implemented, water users in the state will have more options.

He commented that the state government would not be acquiring SAJ Ranhill as suggested by many parties, including the Opposition, stating that no companies would want to acquire a loss-making company.

Osman said while the state government had a 20 per cent stake in SAJ Ranhill, the previous Barisan Nasional state government received no return or profit from the investment.

He said the state government had the ability and expertise to set up a second water company, since Johor too has the highest water tariff in the country.

State Opposition leader Datuk Hasni Mohammad (BN-­Benut) said having a second water operator company was not viable and that it “would incur a higher investment compared to increasing our existing stake in SAJ Ranhill.”  

Hasni remarked that the previous state government already had plans to acquire the company, having received offers from other parties to increase its 20 per cent equity in SAJ Ranhill.

However, he was of the opinion that it was more reasonable to acquire the company rather than setting up a new water company.

Hasni said ultimately, revenue was the main reason why the state government planned to set up the second company, but with 21,000km of water pipeline and a current revenue of RM156 per kilometre, the second water company would not be profitable.