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GEORGE TOWN, April 5 -- Friends of Ulu Muda (FoUM) has urged the Penang and Kedah governments to work together in solving the crisis over raw water supply rights from Sungai Muda, which involves consumers in both states.
FoUM secretariat member who is also Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president, Meenakshi Raman said the time has come to put aside the dispute and both state governments must work together to reach a consensus in the best interest of both parties.
"In moving forward, FoUM proposes both state governments to take sustainable steps, among them to appoint independent, competent, trustworthy and neutral mediator to handle negotiations between the two parties,
"Besides that, FoUM also recommends that both states discuss with experts regarding water-based Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) to get technical advice on how to create a PES scheme for Sungai Muda water catchment area," she said in a statement, here, today.
She said the Penang and Kedah state governments need to discuss and reach a mutual agreement on the PES scheme, which among others, would enable Sungai Muda main water users to contribute funds for the conservation of the water catchment area, which is the Ulu Muda Forest Complex.
Besides that, she said, a trust fund for Ulu Muda conservation must be set up to manage funds received for the cause, including to appoint a board of trustees comprising stakeholders who would be overseeing the conservation project.
Meenakshi stressed that the raw water which originates from Ulu Muda Forest Complex does not belong exclusively to any party.
She hoped the proposals would be considered so that raw water would continue to be supplied to Kedah, Penang and Perlis as water is the core of sustainable development and critical for socio-economic development.