Sunday 12 June 2011

Umno, Pakatan parties want PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) disclosed

Both Umno and Pakatan Rakyat parties, namely PAS and PKR, agreed that the power purchase agreements (PPAs) should be made public due to the national interest.

youth leaders wacana ekonomi 120611 ahmad zaki zahid.JPGIn a rare common ground, the forum panellists from the three parties said that the PPAs should at least be disclosed to a select panel of experts or parliamentarians.

The forum on subsidies, organised by PAS Youth, was held in Kuala Lumpur this morning and saw participation by Umno Youth exco Ahmad Zaki Zahid (right), PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli and PAS Youth committee member Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki.

"I agree that the PPAs are reviewed. If people want it to be disclosed, then do it. Why not?

"Form a panel of experts or MPs to study the PPAs at least," said Ahmad Zaki, saying that the issue over the independent power producers (IPPs) has become an 'emotional' one.

Mentioning Gua Musang MP and former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's call yesterday for a royal commission of inquiry to study the PPAs, Ahmad Zaki voiced his support for it.

"DAP, of course, immediately supported it. But on this issue, I also support it, lah," he said.

youth leaders wacana ekonomi 120611 mohd zuhdi marzuki.JPGMohd Zuhdi (right) further said that all private documents inked between government-linked companies with public interests must be made public and be transparent.

The move to get the PPAs made public have gained traction recently with many quarters calling for it to be revealed.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin had previously said that the PPAs are signed between respective IPPs and national energy provider Tenaga Nasional Berhad, and thus the government cannot compel the agreement to be made public.

Though figures vary from one source to another, many of the leaders in the opposition parties have claimed that the IPPs enjoy the bulk of the fuel subsidies given by the federal government.

IPP profits 'annoying'

In the forum, which also saw a number of Umno members supporting Ahmad Zaki, it was quickly made obvious who had the upperhand in the debates.

youth leaders wacana ekonomi 120611 rafizi ramli.JPGRafizi (right), formerly a corporate man with Petronas and Pharmaniaga, soon dominated the debates with sensational figures at his fingertips and his assertive oratory skills.

He claimed that YTL Corporation, with only one IPP, gave out dividends amounting to RM1.9 billion in 2009 when TNB's issued at most RM900 million in dividends.

"It is very annoying to me that when YTL buys properties like Wessex Water or an IPP in Singapore, everyone says he's a good businessman.

"Of course, if I had billions like he does, I will buy up everything (as well)...

"IPPs have become so arrogant, because they are protected by the non-disclosure clause. But everyone knows that in every agreement, there will be a clause of review if it becomes too one-sided," Rafizi said.

In a 2006 interview with Starbiz, former TNB chairman Ani Arope had said TNB was forced by the Economic Planning Unit - which comes under the purview of the prime minister - to sign agreements which he claimed were unfair and were one-sided to the IPPs back in the 1990's.

Defending his boss and Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who was the former finance minister, Rafizi also said that Anwar had told him that he was not involved in dealing with the IPPs as it was the EPU negotiated the deals.

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