Friday, February 20, 2009

Bailout of Water Concessionaires Begins

Almost as if on cue, the Federal Government has dismissed the Selangor state government's attempts to return the rights of cheap water and efficient water supply to the people of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Two days ago, National Commission of Water Services (SPAN), on behalf of the Ministry of Energy, Water & Communications, surprised the state and the public by declaring that the Federal Government will unilaterally proceed to negotiate with the water concessionaires in the state directly, by-passing the state.

The CEO of SPAN, Dato Teo Yen Hua (one of those behind the failed original water privatisation exercise which screwed Malaysians throughout the country in the first place) gave some flimsy excuse of an alleged non-existent deadline which was missed by less than week, acting almost like a lackey for the concessionaires.

This came while the state government was still waiting for a response from the respective concessionaires on our earlier buy back offer. In fact, the SPAN U-turn trespasses the constitutional rights of the state and the Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim rightly rapped SPAN and demanded that Dato 'mischievous' Teo declare his interest in the matter.

It was a clear attempt at sabotaging the state negotiations as the concessionaires will clearly reject the offers by the state as they know that the Federal Government will definitely pay much more money to take back their concessions!

Unsurprisingly, as if on cue, these concessionaires rejected Selangor's offer today (Puncak Niaga & Syabas here, Gamuda & Kumpulan Perangsang here) while obviously twiddingly their thumbs and licking their lips for a much more lucrative offer from the BN Government to line their pockets.

As highlighted in my earlier post, the Minister in this case has near absolute powers to determine the outcome of the restructuring exercise. It now appears that he will not use these powers to protect the rights and interests of the rakyat, but instead abuse it only to enrich and bailout the water concession cronies. The country is getting raped twice, right before our very eyes.
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