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Max told to stop Labuan price hike
Published on: Thursday, January 18, 2018

Labuan: The Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce (LCCC) blamed Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) for causing the prices of new properties here to be higher than most other towns and urged Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, to intervene before the situation worsens.

LCCC Chairman, Datuk Wong Kii Yii in a letter addressed to the Minister recently said all new properties developed are now subject to pay one per cent based on the Sales and Purchase agreement of the property to the National Water Commission. He said this cost would naturally be transferred to the buyer and is unfair because the developer has to pay for the infrastructure such as sewerage pipelines and after completion, still have to pay to IWK for services.

Wong pointed out that in the case of highways, developers bear the expense and later collect toll but in the case of IWK all had to be borne by the developer.

"Is this fair?" he asked.

He said IWK was tasked with improving sanitation on the island and should do so without being a burden to developers and others.

"Development of sewerage pipelines should be borne by IWK and not the private sector.

He said when IWK came to Labuan through extension of an Act there was already much uneasiness here but assurances were given that it would not cause additional burden to folks here.

"This doesn't seem to be case anymore."

He noted that after several years of operations IWK has extended its powers and now its approval was also required before a Certificate of Fitness (CF) is granted to a developed property.

"This puts the developer at the mercy of IWK. In Sabah and Sarawak there is no IWK and the sanitation system in both states are not in deplorable condition.

He said Sabah and Sarawak have proven that they could handle sewerage problem without needing IWK.

"Labuan don't mind paying some additional costs but its should be fair," he said.

Wong also said that during a dialogue with IWK officials some months ago, IWK assured that any charges would be reasonable and tolerable. "But after the meeting what was said was not practised."

Wong hoped that Maximus being a Minister from Sabah, would understand Labuan's problem and find the solution.

According to records, over the years IWK has built and is managing 24 sewage treatment plants for 48,492 houses and various premises. Some RM8 million is to be spent to replace all the flush toilets into septic tanks and connected to treatment plants.

Labuan is also regarded as top rated in term of IWK bill settlement with RM18.8 million collected in 2015. - Sohan Das

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