CMS Premix (Miri) Sdn Bhd:
- Dato Richard Curtis
- Dato Haji Robert Geneid
- Datu Hubert Thian Chong Hui
- Syed Hizam Alsagoff
Give 40 per cent discount, Laku urged
Posted on March 11, 2012, SundayMIRI: The Consumers Association of Miri (CAM) wants Northern Region Water Board (Laku) to give a 40 per cent discount for the water bill this month in consideration of the inconveniences caused by the recent water supply disruptions here.
Its president George Bennett Francis said although the water situation is back to normal, the request for discount was based on the eight universal rights of consumers which the water board had infringed.
“Laku has infringed the Rights of Consumers for the disruption of supply without notice or given the facts or information by way of public statement (through radio or SMS) in such time of emergency needed for consumers to make informed choices or decisions; for the contamination of supplies, including the rights to be protected against products, production processes and services which are hazardous to health or life.
“It includes concern for consumers’ long term interests as well as their immediate requirements,” George said in a statement emailed to thesundaypost yesterday.
He added that the discount was within the right of redress for consumers, which means the right to fair settlement or just claim. It included the right to receive compensation for representation of contaminated water or unsatisfactory services.
George pointed out that the incident also infringed the right to a healthy environment, meaning the right to a physical environment that will enhance the quality of life.
It included protection of environmental dangers over which the individual has no control, like the storage of diesel for the premix plant. It acknowledged the need to protect and improve the environment for the present and future generations.
“If the culprit is found guilty by court for the spillage of diesel into the water catchment, the fine will certainly go to the federal coffer and will not directly benefit the affected consumers, so it is for the availability or acceptable form of legal aid or redress for such a small claim of 40 per cent bill discount.”
George added that during the disruption, consumers who didn’t have any stock of water at all became distraught and panicky when taps went dry with the question of how long will it be. They were forced to buy mineral water to meet the essentials, like for cooking rice, washing dishes, and milk for little children.
“I am told the 500ml bottled mineral water normally cost RM8 or RM9 per box was first raised to RM13 and then to as high as RM25 per box in certain places. Imagine if it is RM13 per box and each family buys 5 boxes, that’s RM65, well beyond a normal household bill per month.
“After restoration, the tap waters were coloured and polluted, and smelled of diesel for a long time, so substantial quantities were flashed off by the consumers.”
The water supply disruption last Sunday affected some 300,000 consumers in Miri and Sibuti due to an oil spill into Sungai Liku, which is Laku’s water catchment area. It thus forced the Lambir Water Treatment Plant to shut down for a day.
Laku, said George, must always protect the consumers’ right for uninterrupted supply of water, and ensure consumers are not inconvenienced.
He said the lesson learnt was one of “incompetence and inability” to plan the location of the premix plant, which is said to be located ‘outside the catchment gazetted area’.