Water Supply Restructuring in Malaysia: Lessons for Asia?
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Malaysia’s utilities system was in peril in the early 2000’s due to large debts taken on by states and water concession contracts with private companies. The Malaysian government undertook a series of reforms in the mid-2000’s to secure utilities and expand water access. The PAAB, a national water asset holding firm, was created by the federal government to finance capital expenditures through a process called “migration”. States were required to cover their debts to the national government by “migrating” assets to the PAAB who would then lease the assets to state operators. The SPAN, a national water regulator, was then created to set tariffs and regulate state inefficiencies. Although the reforms were not without flaws, early results have increased water delivery efficiency and may offer a blueprint for implementation in other Asian nations.