Kedah MB Muhammed Sanusi Md Nor said that his government would not be intimidated and if Penang takes the water dispute to the court or refer the matter for debate in parliament.
It must be remembered that the belligerent party is not Penang but Kedah from the beginning.
It was Sanusi who mooted the idea of raw water payment from Penang. Since Penang draws water from the south section of its side of Sungei Muda, the question of Penang paying the water bill does not rise the first place.
If these 14 structures are built with funding from the federal government, the flow of water to Penang will be affected to turn extent that Penang will have put up with muddy water.
This is what Sanusi is doing now that if Penang remains obstinate in not paying the water bill, it might end up getting muddy water.
This is an obvious threat coming from Sanusi intending to punish the people in Penang for non-payment of water dues.
If the flow of water is interrupted then Penang will take the matter to court.
Sungei Muda might originate from Kedah, but the Kedah government has no legal or constitutional right to alter the flow of water either by altering its natural course or putting up structures to drain water from the river.
Penang has riparian rights that are protected by existing bilateral agreements and the constitutional provision.
This is where the federal government should step in to reprimand the temperamental and bizarre Sanusi.
But unfortunately, with the PAS leader Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man as the minister of water and natural resources, nothing much is to be expected.
Tuan Ibrahim might not be religious zealot like the party’s president Hadi Awang, but this does not mean he is good and capable minister.
If he cannot reign in Sanusi, his party comrade, then it is expected that there will be no end to this water controversy.
The silence was on the part of the federal government might indicate that they are with Sanusi on the matter of punishing Penang.
I am not sure whether it is the non-payment of water charges, or because the DAP government is in power in Penang.