The Star Penang 11/9/2004 By SIOW YUEN CHING
THE recent directive from the Penang Water Supply Corpo-ration
Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) to houseowners to remove water filters installed
near water meters has sparked off a public outcry.
Many Penangites are complaining that they have no choice but to
install filters outside their homes because of the murky and
contaminated water supply to their homes.
Engineer Khaw Loo Gee, 40, said if the water authority could
provide clean water supply, he would not have to install a water
filter outside his Sungai Ara apartment.
“Installing a water filter only incurs extra expenses and more
work. If given a choice, I don’t even want to install a water
filter, but my family’s health takes priority,” he said in an
Khaw said he spent about RM200 to buy and install the water
filter and another RM48 for a dozen filter cartridges.
The Star reported on Sept 2 that PBAPP workers would start
removing the filters after Nov 1 and bill consumers for the job if
they had not done so by then.
PBAPP general manager Datuk Liew Chook San was quoted as saying
that harmful bacteria could breed in filters that were not properly
maintained, and that the bacteria could infect not only the water
supply of the owners’ premises but also spread through pipelines to
PBAPP, however, did not object to consumers installing water
filters inside their premises away from the loop of the meter.
Following the announcement, Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu
Koon was quoted as saying that PBAPP would wait for public response
before considering whether to extend the Nov 1 deadline.
He added that the authority should also hold a dialogue session
Khaw’s neighbour, Agnes Teh, 31, who had installed two water
filters outside her apartment, said consumers, generally, were
willing to co-operate with PBAPP to remove their water filters but
the water authority must assure them of clean water supply all the
She added that they had lodged several complaints to PBAPP over
the dirty water supply for the past three years but no action was
taken to solve the problem.
Housewife Soo Ah Choon, 53, said she would not dismantle her
water filter despite the two months notice because her family’s
health was at risk if they had to drink contaminated water.
Soo, who changed her filter cartridge at least once in a
fortnight, said it was absurd for consumers to install water filters
at every tap inside their houses in order to have clean water
“We not only need clean water for drinking but also for washing
our clothes, bathing and brushing our teeth,” she said.
CP-Crystal Pure Industries Sdn Bhd manager C. W. Tan said despite
the recent directive, they had sold about 20 water filters over the
past few days.
“Although we had warned our customers about the two-month grace
period, they were not perturbed as they were getting yellowish water
supply,” he said, adding that his staff usually advised the
customers to monitor the water filters and replace the cartridges
with new ones immediately when they turned brownish.
“On the average, customers need to change the cartridge every
fortnight but if the water supply is very dirty, they have to change
the cartridge after three or four days,” he said, adding that they
sold about 80 to 100 water filters monthly.
Tan added that apartment dwellers faced a problem of installing
their water filters away from the meter loop because most apartment
units had concealed internal piping.
“Customers will need to spend over RM1,000 if they want to
install filters at every tap point inside their homes as these types
of filter are more expensive,” he said.
Ultra-Pure Water System (M) Sdn Bhd manager T. L. Boon said the
recent directive had not affected their business.
“I think most of our customers do make an effort to maintain
their water filters as they are very conscious over their health,”
he added while urging PBAPP to hold a dialogue session with
suppliers and manufacturers of water filters over the matter.
Penang Water Watch president Prof Dr Chan Ngai Weng said PBAPP
should also go on a campaign to educate consumers, who might be
unaware of problems arising from installing filters near water
He added that consumers receiving dirty water supply should
consider appointing an independent plumber to investigate the cause
of the contamination.
This was because PBAPP had pointed out that galvanised iron pipes
used in houses built before 1990 could be one of the reasons for the
dirty water, he added.