JBA Selangor can't take full blame
I FULLY sympathise with those consumers in the Klang Valley who have not been receiving regular and sufficient potable water for their daily needs during these past few weeks. Though I am residing in the part of Petaling Jaya where, supply comes from a river source that has neither been too polluted nor substantially reduced in flow quantity to affect the daily production, I do not have a feeling of elation.

If the current drought continues, all consumers in the Klang Valley would be affected. As it is expected, the Selangor Water Supply Department (JBA Selangor) has been lambasted by irate consumers who, presumably, have been left high and dry with little or no assurance from the department as to when the supply would return to normalcy.

The department is clearly in the front firing line and has to bear the wrath of angry consumers. The public has now been given the bare fact that the current water crisis is due to lack of rain. Insufficient rainfall due to the current dry weather has caused the depletion of dam storage in the country.

And, it is not so much as the pollution of water sources which the public was made to understand in the past. But the department, does not seem to be sufficiently prepared with contingency plans despite being aware of the looming threat of water shortages since last year. But before the consumers hurl more criticisms at the department, let us look at its shortcomings to understand why the department could not be more effective in handling the current situation.

Ever since the last quarter of 1997, the department has been operating virtually without a head - the Director of JBA Selangor. And without a head to run the department for a long time to effectively provide leadership and to give direction, one can imagine the shambles the department is in - especially when the department is now under extreme pressures daily from the consumers and other government agencies to deliver sufficient supply.

Coupled with the above, there is this intention, of the state government to privatise JBA Selangor to Puncak Niaga. And this has caused a lot of uncertainties to many employees in the department.

The news of the impending takeover has been going on for a couple years now with constantly shifting takeover dates - the latest being June thfs year as reported. During this interim period, the employees who have left or have retired from the department have not been replaced with new people.

And this results in shortages of manpower in some important sections of the department. Under the above scenario, one is not able to totally blame all the department staff for their low morale. For the staff to perform any better than what they are doing now, better conditions to boost their morale will need to be in place immediately.

The department may be on the receiving end, but the major portion of the blame for the present fiasco should fairly and squarely be placed on the shoulders of the state authority. The state authority seems to be oblivious of shortcomings in the department.

nakedeyeview.com.my 2007