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Kedah-Penang water issues: Adopt diplomatic approach, Mahdzir tells Sanusi

Publish date: Sat, 03 Jun 2023, 06:12 PM

KUALA NERANG: The Kedah government should adopt a diplomatic approach to resolve differences with Penang.

State Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the claim by the menteri besar that Penang is owned by Kedah stemmed from the long-standing dispute over raw water supply charges.

"Yes, I believe it all started with water supply, the water sourced from Kedah that goes to Penang.

"So I believe it is best to negotiate to settle the claims between Kedah and Penang," he told reporters after opening the 7th Annual Grand Meeting of Kami Anak Felda at Dewan Felda Lubuk Merbau here today. 

Mahdzir, who is a former Kedah menteri besar, said water supply charges imposed on Penang had also been raised during his tenure.

However, he said, his administration had opted to negotiate.

"During my time as MB, this issue had been raised, but what's important here is how we raise such matters.

"At the time, we would have a roundtable meeting and negotiate the deals. There are pros and cons in this issue, and when we analysed it properly, we noticed that there were things that would work in our favour," he added.

On Monday, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor claimed that Penang was under the ownership of Kedah, and Perak and Perlis were the only states that had a border with Kedah.

Mahdzir also pointed that there was nothing new about Sanusi's administration demanding RM200 million from the federal government for forgoing the development of land for agriculture.

"In fact, the demand was first made by the late Datuk Seri Syed Razak Syed Zain when he was MB. He insisted that a thorough assessment be carried out.

"Later, when I assumed the position, I promptly wrote a letter to the federal government.

"I believe previous MBs, such as Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, may have also sent similar letters," he added.

On Thursday, Sanusi urged the federal government to expedite compensation payments to the state.

Sanusi said these included the demand for RM200 million for forgoing development in order to protect agriculture and water catchment] areas.

He said the state's decision was meant to safeguard the country's food security, as well as water resources for neighbouring states.

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