GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan has called for heads to roll in the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) following an unexpected water outage and purported slow repairs to restore water supply over the past two weeks.
In a statement, Penang Gerakan chief Oh Tong Keong said PBAPP chairman Chow Kon Yeow and CEO K Pathmanathan should apologise and resign from their posts.
“The chief minister (Chow) should feel a sense of responsibility as he has failed to provide adequate water supply services to the people of Penang,” he said.
“If Chow and Pathmanathan are incapable of carrying out their duties, it is better for both to resign.
“This will provide an opportunity for those who are more capable and professional to assume both positions to enhance the efficiency of PBAPP and prevent Penangites from experiencing continuous water supply disruptions.”
The state’s water woes began when a key supply pipe buried in a river bed burst, causing water cuts in at least a quarter of Penang island’s southern areas.
On Dec 18, some 120,000 accounts in the island’s southwest district had to endure dry taps after a pipe at Sungai Perai ruptured.
The repairs were supposed to take a day, but extended to nearly four days, ending at 5.30am on Dec 22. However, the water supply only resumed at 2pm the same day.
Meanwhile, Oh claimed that at least four parts of the island were out of water on Christmas yesterday due to earlier ongoing repairs at an Air Itam suburb that were promised to be fixed in a day.
Next month, PBAPP will cut water to 80% of the state for four days to fix a water loss problem. The cuts will be from Jan 10 to Jan 14.
The company said a major valve at the water treatment plant in Butterworth needs replacing, and about 590,000 people on the island and Seberang Perai would be affected.
Oh claimed that after the recent water supply woes, Penangites were not confident that next month’s repairs would be completed in four days as promised.
“Penangites now expect that water cuts from these repairs to take at least two weeks,” he said.
FMT has contacted Chow and PBAPP for comment.