By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Sunday, 2.8.1987:
Call on all MPPP Councillors to resign for their shocking ‘impropriety, irregular and cowardice, in not reviewing the $10 million Batu Ferringgi sewerage project tender at its Friday meeting
The Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang met last Friday, but although the Penang Exco Member for Local Government, Datuk Khoo Kay Por, said he had called for a full report on the $10 million Batu Perringi sewerage tender for the Chief Minister and himself to consider, no MPPP councilor raised the matter at the meeting.
This is a most shameful way of handling public trust and responsibility, and all MPPP Councillors, whether from Gerakan, UMNO, MCA or MIC should resign for their shocking ‘impropriety, irregularity and cowardice; in not reviewing the $10 million Batu Terringi sewerage project tender last Friday.
No MPPP Councillor seemed to be aware of the gross impropriety and irregularity whereby the MPPP Council proceeded to re-ward the Batu Ferringi sewerage project to L&M Prestressing Sdn. Bhd. (L&M), without rescinding an earlier MPPP Council decision of 9th October 1986 to call for new tenders for the Batu Ferringi sewerage project.
Surely, the proper, regular and legal thing for the MPPP Council to do, if it decides to re-ward the tender to L&M is to first rescind the Oct. 1986 decision calling for new tenders. Otherwise, there are now two decision of the MPPP which are equally valid – one calling for new tenders, and the other deciding to re-ward the tender to L&M.
I am surprised that the MPPP seems to lack such an elementary knowledge on meetings the condret of meetings, and I shudder to think what other irregularities and improprieties had been committed by MPPP Councillors in the past.
I refer to the ‘cowardice’ of the MPPP Councillors, because in the newspapers, component parties of Barisan Nasional like the Penang Gerakan Youth, made noises objecting to the MPPP re-ward of the Batu Ferringi sewerage tender. But in the MPPP Cuoncil meeting on Friday, not one of their councilors spoke up to ask for a review of the entire tender exercise, especially as the State Executive Council has called form a full report.
I get the distinct impression that the real powers in the MPPP are rot the Councillors, but the President and the Secretary, who could ride roughshod over the Councillors. This is probably because they are nominated Councillors, who do not derive their power from the people directly as in the case of an elected Council system.
The Batu Ferringi sewerage tender scandal has highlighted the failure of the nominated local government system, and the DAP calls on the Penang State Government to set the example by being the first state of revert to an elected local government in Malaysia.
2. Call on Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, to explain why UEM has been picked to get the
plums of the government privatization programme
The government embarked on the privatization programme with the three-fold objectives of:
1. To relieve the financial burden of the government and reduce the size of the public sector;
2. To promote competition, improve efficiency and increase productivity; and
3. To accelerate the rate of grown of the economy.
However, the government’s privatization programme to date has around growing and sidespread concern and fear as to whether the good of the people and country will be served by privatization.
I call on the Government to go out of its way to convince Malaysians that the privatization programme would be carried out under the following three safeguards:
1. That three would be adequate checks and balances to avoid profiteering and exploitation;
2. That it would not provide an opportunity for a small group of individuals of companies to make money at the expense of the public and the nation; and the nation; and
3. That no political parties would be allowed, directly or indirectly, to benefit from the privatization programme.
In this connection, I call on the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, to explain why United Engineers Malaysia (UEM), which accumulated $90 million of losses from 1981 to 1985 has been picked to get the plums of the government’s privatization programme.
UEM, which was suspended from stock exchange on May 12, 1983, has earlier this year applied for re-listing on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, on the strength of its North-South Highway privatization contract. UEM had also been given the $250 million National Sports Complex consultancy project, and last week the $47.5 million Penisular Gas Utilisation management consultancy service project. Eventually, the Penisular Gas Utilisation project would costs billions of dollars, and UEM looks set to be the mail beneficiary.
UEM has also been promised the privatization of the pharmaceutical stores and service of the Ministry of Health, which will be worth hundreds of million of dollars a year.
If UEM ends up with the North South Highway, the Penisular Gas Utilisation Project, the Pharmaceutical Services and Stores of Health Ministry, each of which is a billion-dollar bonanza, UEM will emerge as the No. 1 Super and Mega Company in Malaysia. Is this the objective of the government’s privatization programme?