Wednesday, March 04, 2009

SPAN Promises Performance Review for Water Firms

As reported by The Sun today, Water Services Commission (SPAN) CEO Datuk Teo Yen Hua promised that
...water concessionaires that have migrated to the licensing regime will have to adhere to the licensing requirement which will be reviewed every 3 years and any violation of the Water Services Industries Act 2006 (WSIA) will cost them the license.

... these companies will have to justify their earnings and if there is any violation, SPAN will recommend to the minister not to renew their license. This is for the protection of the consumers.
Sweet sounding words indeed! Are you confident now that your interests are protected? Can you believe him? Am I asking rhetorical questions?

It's now public knowledge that SYABAS has already breached many many terms of their concession agreement including:
...more than 72% of contracts worth a total of RM600 million were awarded to selected companies via direct negotiations and only 25% via competitive open tender, which clearly violates the agreement.

...the audit also found more than RM325 million in discrepancy between the summary of contracts awarded in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and Syabas’s review document (referring to general accounts).

...Syabas had breached the water privatisation concession by using imported pipes from Indonesia for its RM375 million pipe replacement project in the Klang Valley instead of sourcing them locally.

...questions are also being raised over the RM51.2 million spent to renovate the Syabas office when the Selangor Water Regulatory Department (JKAS) only approved RM23.2 million for this in 2005.
The Selangor Government itself has called for the concession agreements to be terminated based on the above breaches which were found by the National Audit Department since November last year.

Both SPAN and the Minister are dilly-dallying over the "breach", claiming that they needed the advice from the attorney-general's office which isn't forthcoming. Yah, right.

It certainly raises the question if we have a regulator who practices the concept of "pagar makan padi", who claims to protect the interest of consumers, but who in reality favours the exploitative concessionaires.

So I hope, Dato Teo, before you promise that tomorrow will be better, act on what's on your plate today. If you can't even take action on the breaches happening under your noses today, then how do you expect the rakyat to trust you on your promises for the future?

Please don't kid us, Dato. We are not as stupid as you think we are. Read also the editorial by Terence Fernandez in The Sun yesterday.
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