Starting next year, operators and suppliers in the water supply and sewerage services industry need to allocate one percent of their annual operation budget for integrity programmes.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar (photo) said the initiative was to curb offences on governance in the water services industry involving the implementation of integrity programmes such as audit, risk assessment, monitoring, training and communications.

He said the matter was in the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Framework For Licence Holders and Certified Agencies in the Water Services Industry launched in Putrajaya today.

The minister said compliance to the framework would be one of the special conditions imposed by the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) when awarding or renewing water supply and sewerage operator licence.

"With better integrity practice by industry players, corruption will be reduced. Operators and suppliers could then improve the quality of water services to the people,” he said in a media conference after launching the integrity framework.

Also present was SPAN chairman Charles Santiago.

Xavier said the framework was created in line with the 2019-2023 National Anti-Corruption Plan which outlined five basic principles that have to be adhered to by water industry players in areas such as top management commitment, risk analyses, control measure implementation, monitoring, evaluation and systematic enforcement as well as training and communications.

Meanwhile, Charles said according to a Transparency International report, most of the water problems in the country occurred due to the lack of governance and the presence of corruption. Several water operators were investigated by the authorities for corruption and abuse of power.

He stressed that SPAN as the regulatory body of the water services industry practices zero-tolerance against corruption. The top management and staff of water supply and sewerage operator contractors as well as certified agencies are required to comply with the newly launched integrity framework.

"The primary objective of the framework is to eradicate corrupt practices and abuse of power among operators and their suppliers in the entire supply chain,” he said.

- Bernama

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