Works Ministry denies water is unclean

However, my elation over the minister's announcement was short-lived as a couple of days later, the Works Minister dropped a bombshell and poured cold water over the minister's planned action because according to him, our water is safe to drink and there have been no complaints so far about the quality of the water!

The Works Minister's statement is ludicrous, to say the least. There are frequent complaints of dirty tap water by the public to the local dailies and unless one lives in an ivory tower, does not read newspapers and is divorced from the populace, one cannot deny not knowing that such a problem exists in the Klang Valley.

Also, unless one suffers from colour blindness and has lost one's taste buds, he or she should be able to distinguish quite easily the difference between water complying with Health Ministry's guidelines which is "clear, colourless and pleasant to drink" and dirty water so prevalent in the Klang Valley which is "turbid, coloured and stains laundry and is not palatable". Even small kids know the difference.

It is unbelievable that this self-denial syndrome is also so prevalent among many senior officials of the Selangor State government and PUAS vis-à-vis the glaring and widespread occurrence of dirty tap water in the Klang Valley.

This self-denial syndrome has invariably prompted a consumer, one Dr. K.H. Sng of Kuala Lumpur to conjecture, in his letter to the press (NST, Nov 29, 2002), that PUAS might have an interest in existing bottled-water and water-filter businesses or that the department was run by a group of "incompetent nincompoops"! Unfortunately, the statement by the Works Minister may also lead one to conjecture that he could be in the same league.

Be it as it may, the ministry should proceed forthwith with the tests and water consumers in the Klang Valley will certainly support this long overdue exercise wholeheartedly.


An edited version of the above was published in The Sun on Jan 31, 2003. 2007