Thursday 26 July 2012

'Syabas holding back water treatment payment'

Selangor water concessionaire Syabas has held back payments to water treatment plants for six to seven months, with the arrears growing to some RM2 billion, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli claims.

NONE"Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd collects money from you and me; it collects money from our families, but it withholds this money," Rafizi (right) told a forum in Subang Jaya last night, without naming the creditors.

He told the audience of at least 600 people that the Syabas move was to manufacture a water crisis in a desperate bid to help Umno retake Selangor in the next general election.

While this problem continues, he added, Syabas CEO Rozali Ismail continued to live a ‘superstar lifestyle' on an RM5 million annual salary, despite the state having the highest rate of non-revenue water in the country.

“If Rozali is going to withhold payment to the water processing plants in order to incapacitate them and to create a water crisis in Selangor, the least he could do is to forgo his RM5 million (salary) a year.

"Agree or not?” Rafizi asked, to which the audiece responded with a resounding ‘yes’.

Syabas is one of four water supply concessionaires in Selangor and deals primarily with the distribution of water.

The other three are Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor (Splash), Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syabas' parent company Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd.

Last night’s forum was the second and last part of a series on the Talam debt settlement issue, with the first conducted in Chinese on the night before, and the second forum conducted earlier, in English.

Chua Tee Yong: Forum a diversion 

MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Chua Tee Yong, who had alleged that the Talam debt restructuring was in fact a Selangor government bailout for Talam, was invited to debate at both forums, but he did not turn up.

NONEEnglish daily The Star yesterday quoted Chua as saying that the forum was a diversion.

“It is not MCA that should attend the forum but the Selangor government. One thing I learnt from this whole episode is that DAP will continue spinning, even when it is wrong,” Chua is quoted as saying.

In Chua’s absence, forum panellists Rafizi, DAP national publicity chief Tony Pua and Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh also touched on Selangor’s water issues, in addition to explaining the Talam issue.

Rafizi lauded Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s move to consolidate the debts Talam owed to three state subsidiaries under Menteri Besar Incorporated, saying that it meant increasing the priority of the debt repayment.

He explained that should Talam have incurred the debt as a result of failed joint ventures with state subsidiaries and should it be liquidated, its debts would be given the least priority by the liquidators.

The liquidators would first settle any debt owed to the banks, and then to the other creditors before finally dealing with the joint-venture companies involved, Rafizi said.

“(The purpose) is to change the status of the debt from owing to a joint-venture to a full creditor... once you do this, then the rank of the debts would be ‘upgraded’,” he said.

If Chua was truly interested in ensuring that the people’s money is well-spent, he should use his status as deputy minister of agriculture to “find all those cows, so that we get back our money”.

Rafizi said this in reference to another scandal that he played a major role in exposing, where the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) is accused of abusing a RM250 million government soft loan meant to develop the nation’s cattle industry.

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