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The water sector reform in Malaysia, initiated in 2004, intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the water sector in the long term. This book explains the overall policy process of the reform and assesses the extent to which the reform has met its objectives and the means through which it has done so. The conclusions point to a weak correlation between the reform outputs on the one hand and the operational efficiency and environmental effectiveness gains of water utilities on the other. They also offer valuable insights into the policy arrangement that successfully shaped the water reform process. The policy process of the Malaysian water sector reform reflects the current global trend towards centralizing water management within the public domain with a clear division of tasks between policy formulation, regulatory oversight and service provision. Federal and state actors have become the dominant players in the water sector. This has reduced the role of private water utilities to a small fraction of activities within the entire value chain of water, and strengthens close regulation oversight from the regulator. Lastly, civil society groups now have a growing (albeit still small) influence on the water sector. In terms of policy recommendations, this book reiterates the need to adopt a private sector culture in managing public water; to establish a clear division of tasks between policy formulation, regulation and service provision; and to facilitate wider public engagement as well as to promote better informational governance in the water sector, including the call for a national water data bank.
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