Monday, December 14, 2009

Water Talks: Don't Blame Selangor Government

In an interview with The Star Bizweek on Saturday, Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad (PAAB) CEO, Ahmad Faizal Abdul Rahman blamed the Selangor Government for the delays in the state's water consolidation exercise where talks have exceeded a year. It was highlighted that “long after being adamant about leading such talks, the Selangor government recently threw in the towel” and “requested that PAAB to step in to lead the talks.”

Firstly, it should be noted that the State Government has not requested that PAAB step in to lead the talks.

Secondly, the failure of the water talks to date is not due to the Selangor Governnment. Instead it is the Federal Government's insistence that SYABAS remains the concessionaire for water distribution in the state. During the negotiations, the state government had even accepted a compromise proposal where SYABAS will remain 51% majority shareholder of the during the negotiations with the conditions that an independent professional management as well as equal board representation. However, even these highly reasonable terms were refused by both SYABAS and the Federal Government.

The fact that the Federal Government had been secretly negotiating a RM320 million interest free, unsecured and backloaded 20-year loan facility to SYABAS serves only to prove the Federal Government's bad faith in the entire water talks, for while the state government is negotiating hard the terms of the new concession, the Federal Government is offering SYABAS a way out for its major cashflow problems which disincentivises the need for SYABAS to deal with the state government.

The absolute lack of commitment on the part of the Federal Government is clear when the Minister refuses to use its powers to cajole SYABAS to the negotiating table with the State Government. Now that PAAB is conducting the negotiations however, Faizal can now claim during the interview that “there's not much room for negotiations”, for the concessionaires have to “take it or face arm-twisting with a fistful of the law. Section 114 of WSIA gives power to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister to force water players to hand over the assets for the sake of 'national interest'”.

Faizal has also admitted to favouring the concessionaires with terms such as “certain things previously not recognised as assets are now recognised as assets. Otherwise its not palatable to the concessionaires.” In addition, he also disclosed that PAAB will be taking into account the fact that the concessionaires “liabilities are much higher than the tangible assets”, which means the rakyat will have to bear the liabilities of these concessionaires as part of the taking over of water assets.

The process undertaken by PAAB as explained by Faizal is not a consolidation or restructuring of the state's fragmented water industry with multiple players. All PAAB is doing is to purchase the 4 concessionaires assets at high prices but will continue to issue operating and maintenance license to them. In essence, PAAB is only bailing out of the troubled concessionaires while the fragmented industry remains.

The Selangor state government has definitely not thrown in the towel, for it is our responsibility to ensure that the rights of the rakyat are fully protected and not allow them to be taken advantaged of by the concessionaires. We will, over the next few weeks, take all necessary actions to ensure that our goals for the people of Selangor are achieved.


KoSong Cafe said...

YB, I tip my hat to you guys for having taken the trouble to go through the calculations and so on, when most people knew at the back of their minds, the Federal Government leaders had their own agenda.

Of course, it would be presumptuous to assume what they had in mind, which necessitated the rounds of negotiations even if the end result would be that the Federal government will still be holding the trump card. We can understand that despite better offers from the Selangor state government (in terms of being favourable to the public) the Federal government would have it their way, even if it was just to spite Pakatan.

But rest assured, all your efforts will not be in vain as now the people are better informed and know what the Federal leaders are up to. It seems as always, they would favour a few at the expense of the masses. Carry on with your good work!

Anonymous said...

to yb tony pua and all pakatan warriors,

we, the rakyat, have money.

our money vs. umno's evil money.

let's meet them head-on.

tell us when u r short of funds for your activites, we'll know what to do.



Anonymous said...

BN could NEVER let Selangor succeed in taking over water assets. It would be TOO popular and even UMNO heartlanders would think about things like NO GST, cheaper toll, cheaper electricity, and better housing, better schools, better everything.

BN would look like the most incompetent and only thing they can shout about the Ketuanan Melayu and Malay rights..

marcus63 said...

tony & pakatan, keep up the good work on chasing down these bloodsuckers. umno is running a pyramid scheme (someone even referred to najib as the next bernie madoff running a ponzi scheme), with these lopsided utility and public works monopolies agreements so 1-sided that makes the ah longs pale in comparison. plus, ipp's, syabas, and what have you are different in name but serve the same purpose. they are created to milk the rakyat, and the pyramid head dishes out the blood $$$ to their cronies, trickling down to sub-cronies, and sub-sub cronies etc and buy them to be beholden to umno, just like a pyramid.
cut off these leech entities, and you effectively cut off the gravy train for umno to buy votes.

Ben said...

Were you too busy to vote on the budget in Parliament too?

Donplaypuks® said...

Don't let BN's two-faced behaviour daunt or frustrate your efforts to expose the truth. Fight UMNO/BN all the way as they do not have the Taxpayers' and Consumers' interest in mind.

They will continue to allow their croneys to pillage and plunder while the Rakyat suffer. We must not let them!!

We are all of 1 race, the Human Race

Anonymous said...

saya ada terbaca di The Star yang model seperti di Negeri Johor akan diguna pakai oleh PAAB untuk Negeri Selangor. Boleh YB kupas lebih lanjut model yang tersebut buat pengetahuan rakyat selangor dan samada make sense such approach being applied in the spirit of WSIA?