INDAH WATER GETS TOUGH & GETS
PAID : Indah Water threat pays off
11/06/2007 NST By Annie Freeda Cruez
KUALA LUMPUR: Threatening legal action and creating awareness does seem to
work after all.
Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) has managed to collect RM300 million in arrears
from house-owners within a year.
Eighty-four per cent of the 20 million users settled their bills between
April last year and this April.
IWK director Suhaimi Kamaralzaman said the recent Appellate Court ruling
that IWK could sue users who refused to pay for sewerage services had also
prompted more defaulters to pay up.
Suhaimi said although the majority had settled their bills, there were still
hundreds of thousands of defaulters.
Now IWK is gunning for the remaining defaulters who owe a total of RM60
He said IWK had taken more than 15,000 people, who owed RM50 million for
sewerage services, to court from last July.
This action followed the landmark case in the High Court against Yong Sieng
Kooi and Ong Ching Yan, owners of a three-storey commercial property in
Bandar Baru Damansara, for not paying their IWK bills.
The court ordered the couple to pay RM4,978 in sewerage charges, owed since
1997, and dismissed their appeal with costs.
IWK has also employed debt collectors and carried out a relentless awareness
campaigns, including through newspaper advertisements and community events,
to get defaulters to pay.
"Most of the unpaid bills are from shoplots, low-cost houses, apartments and
"Many of the defaulters are tenants who deliberately ignore their
responsibility of settling the bills as there is no termination of service,
unlike water and electricity supplies."
"Legal action is a last resort after all efforts to recover the outstanding
charges have been exhausted, which include reminders, visits by debt
collection agencies and letters of demand," Suhaimi said.
He noted that premises in cities and urban areas enjoyed modern sewerage
facilities connected to sewage treatment plants.
Unfortunately, he said, there were still users who were unaware that sewage
and wastewater from their toilets, bathrooms and kitchens was channelled to
sewage treatment plants.
"More often than not, we tend to hear complaints that IWK does not provide
sewerage services but owners are billed.
"In reality, daily services or maintenance are performed in the treatment
plants and along the underground sewer networks and not at the premises."
IWK, the national sewerage company wholly owned by the government through
the Minister of Finance Incorporated, has been entrusted with providing
sewerage services to more than 20 million users in the country.
It operates and maintains more than 9,100 sewage treatment plants and a
16,000km sewer network.
IWK also provides a scheduled desludging service to over 400,000 individual
septic tanks nationwide.