A Pakatan Harapan assemblyman today voiced support for the Kedah state government to demand payments from Penang for obtaining raw water from Sungai Muda which flows from the state.
State opposition member Phahrolrazi Mohd Zawawi (PH-Alor Mengkudu) said the demand was reasonable as Kedah had to bear the cost of maintaining the river.
"It is reasonable for Penang to pay a fee to Kedah. We need to preserve the forest (rain catchment area) and the river needs to be taken care of, so we bear all these costs.
"But I am aware there is no allocation from a legal standpoint to impose charges," he said when debating the motion of thanks for the royal address by Kedah ruler Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah at the Kedah state assembly today.
He also brought up questions about the status of a lawyers panel appointed by the state government last year to deal with the claims.
Phahrolrazi said the raw water fees demanded from Penang were necessary as the Kedah people had to pay their water bills to enjoy supply from Sungai Muda.
"Kedahans have to pay water charges to Syarikat Air Darul Aman... but suddenly others take water without payment, so what happened to the legal panel?" he asked.
The state government previously submitted a written demand to Penang over RM50 million in annual raw water charges after Penang Water Supply Corporation obtained water supply from Sungai Muda, which flows from Kedah.
Penang however has not entertained the claim, with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow saying the use of water by Penang was from the river on its side of the state border, in line with international laws and rights.