TODAY marks the 15th of Syawal and most of us are still very much in the Hari Raya Aidilfitri mood till 30 Syawal, which falls on July 24.
Aidilfitri is celebrated not only by Muslims, but also enjoyed by other races in a peaceful manner and in the spirit of muafakat (togetherness) in Kedah.
Two days before Aidilfitri, the Kedah government, with the cooperation of state-owned Kum-
pulan Ladang, organised a carnival of sorts to sell meat lower than the market price.
The initiative, which was aimed at reducing the burden of low-income earners and poor families in preparing for the celebration, had drawn an overwhelming response throughout Kedah.
I have decided that this initiative will be continued for the upcoming Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration.
Despite this colourful and peaceful celebration, I was surprised by a report in a Bahasa Malaysia daily that suggested that the people in Kedah were celebrating Aidilfitri without water supply, causing a panic among the public.
I have no intention at all to disrupt the cordial relationship with any media organisation, but as a normal human being, I could not hide my regret as the report seemed to be one-sided based on the description, which did not reflect the state government’s efforts in resolving water supply issues in Kedah.
The report intensively focused on the issue, but sadly, there was only a single, dedicated article to reflect efforts by the state government and Syarikat Air Darul Aman Bhd (Sada), and we did not just sit back throughout the water supply disruption period.
To set the record straight, we have identified the areas that are prone to water supply disruptions and Sada has taken proactive efforts to ensure that all complaints are attended to as quickly as possible.
Our intention is to make sure there is water supply in the affected areas during critical days during the Aidilfitri period.
The state government and Sada were fully aware of the predicament of the affected users and have taken all the necessary efforts to limit the water supply disruptions while ensuring ample water was distributed to the areas concerned during the period.
This was the reason for Sada splashing out RM200,000 to supply 1,000 units of 900-litre capacity water containers to underprivileged families in the affected areas.
To achieve this objective of minimising water disruptions and increasing water distribution frequency, Sada also froze leave for its 200 employees to ensure effective service during the Aidilfitri celebration.
The Sada Information Centre also operated round the clock, while the command centre at Sada headquarters operated from 8am to 10pm daily during the period.
Operation centres at the regional level and the complaint centre for hotspots identified prior to the celebration also operating from 8am to 10pm daily.
Water tankers had been provided to transport more than two million gallons of water to the 257 identified hotspots within one hour of each report received from the public.
The amount was double what was distributed during the festive period last year. However, the delivery process depends on traffic flow and the higher volume of vehicles during Aidilfitri must be taken into consideration.
All the hard work and proactive efforts by Sada have shown favourable results as the number of complaints the company received during the period was down from 6,297 cases last year to 1,610 cases this year — a huge drop of 75 per cent.
Based on Sada’s statistics on the six-day period from June 23 to June 28, water supply disruption complaints fell from 661 cases to 273 cases, or 41 per cent lower compared with the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the number of Sada account holders asking for water supply delivery to their areas also dropped from 532 cases last year to 216 cases this year, down by 41 per cent.
The figures clearly show the positive outcomes from Sada’s efforts to minimise water supply disruptions to users during the Aidilfitri celebration.
On another issue, as the president of the Kedah Football Association (KFA), I wish to see the winning momentum of the state’s senior football team continue, as we are defending the Malaysia Cup.
Our mission is definitely to defend the most prestigious cup in Malaysian football, but we are also aware that the other clubs will go all out to beat us.
This is real football, not a video game with results that can be manipulated. I have full confidence in KFA and the management of the squad led by state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Aminuddin Omar.
Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah is Kedah menteri besar