BERITA DAILY LETTER: From Petaling Jaya Resident, via e-mail

I received this shocker of a letter from Syabas stating that my water metre which is in working order has to be changed and placed outside the compound. Also this would cost between RM500.00 to RM1,000.00.

The reason given for the need of this change was that if the metre was within the compound it presents difficulty for the metre reader to access the metre for accurate readings.

Metres have long been inside the compound and still are in many homes in Malaysia. The metre readers usually ring the doorbell to access the metre for reading.

Why this sudden need to place metres outside the house compound?

There are so many simple ways to overcome the problem of accurate metre reading, if it actually exists. For example, Syabas can determine a date and time in a month for each area and officially inform all house owners.

So the onus of ensuring that the metre reader obtains an accurate reading of water usage rests both with house owners and Syabas. Accurate readings can easily be obtained and without such a high cost to house owners, many of whom are already finding it difficult to make ends meet.

Moreover placing the water metre out side the house compound presents a number of problems. For example, tampering is one real problem. If accurate readings are the concern of Syabas, it may not be achieved.

Also the metre can be damaged by vandals or inadvertently by vehicles attempting to park nearby. In such cases, who is responsible for the replacement cost of the damaged metre?

Further the metre can be damaged by rain or lightning! Who then is held responsible? The recent floods in Penang should be a warning to Syabas.

What about houses which have no fencing? Do they also have to install new metres?

This move by Syabas begs many questions which need to be answered. Syabas should rethink its decision to force house owners to place these metres outside the compound. Or is it a ploy by Syabas to milk house owners in Selangor?

I am not sure if the fixing of new metres affects Petaling Jaya residents only or the whole of Selangor. It is sincerely hoped the Selangor State Assembly representatives would bring up this issue with the Selangor state government.