Stop water meter thieves

TAKE NEW MEASURES: Segambut MP calls for Syabas to replace all its metal water meters with plastic ones
TEN shop owners in Taman City, Segambut, here, have been left high and dry by water meter thieves.
The water meters, installed on the pavement next to a row of shops facing the Jalan Kuching highway, disappeared overnight despite the high volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic there.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said it was the second complaint of water meter theft he had received in a month.
"More than 10 water meters were stolen from shops in Taman Segambut last week. The thieves spared the new plastic water meters, however, because plastic meters have no resale value," he said.
Under Section 36(3) of the Water Services Industry Act 2006, water concessionaire Syabas is the owner of all registered water meters, but the consumer is the one responsible for the meter¡¯s safekeeping as long as it is fixed on the service pipe -- even if it is installed in a public area.
"This most outrageous law demands that consumers watch over water meters installed outside their buildings.
"The victim is required to go to the Syabas office to pay RM80 for a new plastic water meter before water supply can be reconnected," he said.
Lim said Syabas, as the sole water supply provider in the Klang Valley, should bear the cost as part of its corporate social responsibility. He said it should also replace all metal meters in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor with plastic ones to stop the thefts.

He said hundreds of water meters were stolen every month in the Klang Valley.

"Whenever the price of metal goes up, the number of water meters stolen go up, too," he said.

Syabas should take the lead from SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd, the Johor water concessionaire, which replaces stolen meters without charge, he said.

"The police should have no problems finding those responsible for the thefts as the old water meters are engraved with serial numbers and therefore traceable. Recycling centers that buy the meters would be able to identify the thieves," he said.

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